Bruno Fernandes comments on new position following Real Sociedad win

Manchester United’s fate in the Europa League was confirmed earlier on Thursday as their 1-0 win over Real Sociedad was not enough to claim first place in Group E.

The victory means that United have won five on the spin in the tournament but miss out on goal difference, with Thursday’s result canceling out the 1-0 loss to La Real in September.

Instead of qualifying for the round of 16, United will now face one of eight teams dropping down from the Champions League in a play-off round.

Speaking after the game, stand-in captain Bruno Fernandes admitted that although they are disappointed to not win the group, there are still positives to take from the game.

“Obviously our goal for today was winning the game by a two-goal difference,” Fernandes told BT Sport, according to the Manchester Evening News.

“We knew we needed that. We played a great game, we tried everything, at the end we took more risks because it was needed to score the second goal.

“But we won the game, it was a great win against a tough opponent, but obviously, we have not won the group, which was our goal, but it was a win. We know they could get more chances [second half], as we had fewer people defending.

“We had to take the risk to have more people in front to score the goals. We didn’t concede, so another clean sheet, which is really important for us, and we keep going undefeated in games, so that is important for the confidence of the team.”

Ahead of the game, Ten Hag was dealt a double blow as two regulars were ruled out of the game. Antony, who also missed the game against West Ham at the weekend, did not recover in time to travel with the squad.

Jadon Sancho, who was an unused substitute in the two games prior to United’s game against Sociedad, was not spotted in training and also missed the game.

That meant that Ten Hag needed to shuffle his pack as he was short of options in the attacking positions. Bruno Fernandes, who is a permanent fixture in the ‘number ten’ position, played on the right-hand side instead.

It was an unusual role for the Portuguese maestro but asked about the decision after the game, he insisted that he will play wherever the manager asks him to play.

“I play wherever the coach needs me to play obviously. It’s not my position, but I try my best to help the team, and to be involved in a way that I can be helpful to the team,” Fernandes said.

United will not travel straight back to Manchester tonight and will instead stay in San Sebastian and train there tomorrow morning before heading back later.

The draw for the play-off round will take place on Monday, with several European giants in the pot to face United in the next phase of the Europa League.

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