Erik ten Hag gives verdict on Bruno Fernandes in deep-lying midfield role

Erik ten Hag has utilised Bruno Fernandes in several different midfield roles this season.

The Portugal international was previously known for pulling the strings in the final third for Manchester United, but he dazzled in a deep-lying position against Everton.

Fernandes, 28, has arguably been the best United signing since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013 following his transfer from Sporting Lisbon.

However, at Sporting, Fernandes was renowned for playing multiple midfield roles as the team’s star player. It has been a similar story for him under Ten Hag.

Fernandes also had a brief spell out on the wing – but in those games he struggled to have an impact. Take the 7-0 defeat to Liverpool as an example.

Back in his usual role — No.10 — against Real Betis, Fernandes was back to his best as United beat the La Liga side 4-1 in the Europa League. That was when United legend Paul Scholes urged Ten Hag to never play his vice-captain out wide “ever again”.

Scholes told BT Sport, as quoted by The Mirror: “Some of the players who came in for criticism, Bruno especially, I thought he was brilliant in the centre of the pitch where we know that’s his best position.

“I hope we never see him in a wide area ever again on the football pitch because it’s not his strength, he was so good in the centre of that pitch dictating play.”

After watching Fernandes pull the strings from a deeper position in United’s 2-0 win over Everton on Saturday, Ten Hag told Match of the Day that Fernandes has been playing deeper in recent matches.

“I think [Fernandes] was brilliant but he was already playing brilliant over many games in a deeper role,” Ten Hag said, as per The Metro. “Not everyone was recognising but also even last week at Newcastle he was playing very well.

“Against Brentford played really well, today again, but I said he was definitely one of the best players, maybe the best player on the pitch, but we had more at a high level.”

Fernandes along with David de Gea have clocked up more minutes than any of their team-mates this season. That shows you how much trust Ten Hag has in the Portuguese Magnificio.

It should be noted that Fernandes has repaid Ten Hag for putting so much faith in him this season. With 10 goals and 12 assists to his name in all competitions, it is no wonder that the manager sees him as a leader by making him vice-captain.

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  1. If we start to believe what Ten Hag believes then I don’t know what is going to become of our beloved ManUtd. Bruno has been struggling to find form – the form that he introduced us to in his first season. We were very lucky so far this season and to find ourselves in 4th spot is the evidence of exactly this fact. Chelsea and Liverpool have had a very poor season. If they had to be up to very normal form we would have easily seen ourselves in 6th place at the very best. If Spurs weren’t struggling like they are we could have easily been in 7th spot. So, we are average and if we don’t improve significantly then the League Cup will be our best achievement for years to come. I pray our team proves me wrong!

  2. I can’t believe how highly fernandes is rated by the fans.

    He is just nowhere near technically good enough to play in a system that wants to control the ball/game – he is a wildcard who makes too many risky passes and whilst when they work they look amazing, it usually just means turnovers to the opposition. He wouldn’t get anywhere near a pep team and unfortunately that has to be the litmus test for any team that wants to challenge for the title. you have to have a proper system and one that controls the ball basically all of the time.

    Bruno remember is the star attacking midfielder in a team that concedes a ton of goals and frankly scores very few. yes we don’t have strikers but he is an ever present in a team that gets about 70 points a season, thats with casemiro and eriksen behind him. maybe thats a bit unfair but its not too far off.

    I like ETH but the fact that he rates fernandes makes me think he won’t succeed at united. will ofc be happy to be proven wrong or rather i think at some stage in the next year or two fernandes will be jettisoned as ETH realises bruno is a net-negative footballer!

    my two cents anyhow.

  3. You know nothing about football, KDB also gives the ball cheaply in the process of creating chances, it is norm for a creative midfielder to give out the balls. The set of players that controls the games are the Deep Defensive Midfielder (6) and the Central Midfielder (8).

    Check Rodri and Gundogan in Man City, these two players knows how to keep the ball. Even Eriksen does that toooooo, but do you know that Casemiro gives out the ball cheaply?

    Stop complaining about Bruno, if our finishers have been converting those chances he created, you won’t be moaning here. Even check the last game against Everton, tonnes of chances where missed. Cut me a slack about Bruno, he is simply not in a good form this season. Still he is a better player.

    Let BRUNO rest! Mtcheeeeew!!

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