Bruno Fernandes says the discipline they’ve witnessed with Erik ten Hag in pre-season is something the Manchester United squad has been missing “for a while”.
On tour this summer we have noticed Bruno Fernandes had been given a semi-free roam role in the final third, with some interchanging with fellow attacking players to trigger the opponent, and he could find a new lease of life under Erik ten Hag next season.
The Portuguese Magnificio will hope to have a greater influence on the team next season, but he is not the type of midfield player I can see playing a deep role under the Dutchman because such a high percentage of his passes are considered risks. With players like that, you must accept that they’re going to lose the ball from time to time, but hopefully over time Ten Hag’s system allows for that.
I think it will with the help of new signing Christian Eriksen and even more so if Manchester United are successful in their quest to sign Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong. A midfielder trio of De Jong, Eriksen and Fernandes would excite me for the new season.
Ten Hag has introduced a series of rules following his appointment at Old Trafford, including demands for training sessions, meetings, and team meals. Reports suggest he expects the players to be super punctual.
Fernandes states Ten Hag’s approach has gone down well with the players and hinted that rule breakers have been allowed to do whatever they wish for too long.
“I think we missed that for a while, and I think, for me, the way I see discipline is important,” Fernandes said, as per ESPN.
“For me, disciple is not only the way you play on the pitch, the position that you have, what you have to do, it’s also off the pitch – don’t be late for the meetings, don’t be late for the meals.
“I think that’s really important because if everyone is on time and someone comes late, he should be punished and I think that’s really good that he’s doing that and for me amazing, because I like to be on time, so I won’t have problems with that.”
Speaking about his impressive performances on tour, Fernandes referred to his own specific game and its strengths, adding: “I keep the ball when I think I have to keep it, I try a pass when I think I have to do it and sometimes it goes good, sometimes wrong.
“Obviously when it goes wrong, I know that shouldn’t be the one, but sometimes when you play in the 10 position you have only a few seconds to think and control the ball and make the pass, so it’s not that much time to think.
“I understand of course that someone has his own opinion, but when I arrived in 2020 I was losing the same amount of balls in those six months and then the year after I lost the same amount of balls, but I scored 28 goals, so people don’t complain about that.
“Now last season, because I scored ‘only’ 10, because for some people it’s only 10 goals, people start complaining, but I’m OK with that, I don’t worry. I do my best, I know I always give my best, I always try to help my teammates. They know that even when I miss the passes, I’m trying to give something to them, so I’m okay with that.”
We heard Ten Hag screaming at David de Gea during the pre-season win over Crystal Palace on Tuesday, so he is not afraid to let his feelings known on the touchline, which I also find assuring to see on tour.
As a fan, Ten Hag’s strictness is welcome. For far too long we’ve had managers trying to put smiles on faces, but that doesn’t cut the mustard. To keep top footballers happy, you must win football matches. Ten Hag has come in with clear plans on how he wants his United team to play football and I hope it all comes together.