Erik ten Hag defends Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes, calls criticism ‘pathetic’


Erik ten Hag has called criticism of Bruno Fernandes “pathetic” and argued that Nottingham Forest’s players were deliberately trying to foul him in Manchester United’s FA Cup fifth-round victory at the City Ground.

Fernandes produced an assist for Casemiro in United’s 1-0 win on the night.

Fernandes has played 36 games in all competitions so far for United this season and was a doubt ahead of the fixture on Wednesday. Ten Hag confirmed that the 29-year-old is carrying “a serious injury” and argued that Forest’s players were “targeting” the attacking midfielder.

Ten Hag said: “I don’t say what it is, but it was a serious injury. I see social media criticise him. It is pathetic.

“He has a serious injury, he continued to play on Saturday and then also he fought to be part of this game.

“He has a very high pain threshold. Last year, he did something similar against Spurs and I think in the semi-final. It shows his leadership.

“You saw, that Forest were targeting him. There were many fouls on him. You see when he is getting the ball, they are really tight on him.”

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Is Bruno Fernandes’ influence waning?

Forest head coach Nuno Espirito Santo seemed surprised at Ten Hag’s comments, saying: “No, there is nothing in that. I don’t think so.

“He is a good player. He needs to be controlled. But that has to be in a fair way. Not by causing any problems or trying to injure anyone. I did not see what Erik saw.”

Fernandes has scored seven goals and assisted on eight occasions for United this season.

The Portugal international has come under criticism in recent weeks for his performances, with his last goal coming in United’s victory at Newport County in January.

United’s victory, meanwhile, means they will face Liverpool in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.

“It is big (the win),” Ten Hag added. “We want to win every competition so every game is big. The fans deserve a team who is fighting. The team was acting as a team, showing determination, passion and desire, resilience. They showed that today, especially resilience after Saturday.

“We were very disappointed after a very good run. You have to bounce back and I think that is what we did today. It was not easy, especially in the back four we had serious problems and I’m very happy that Rapha (Varane) could play this game. Also Bruno he had a very bad injury as well and he fought to be a part of this game.”

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Ten Hag is imagining bad faith from Carragher. Perhaps he senses the ground shaking

(Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)





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