Does Ronaldo hinder Fernandes? Man Utd star sets record straight and compares Ten Hag with Klopp & Guardiola
- Fernandes opens up in extended interview
- Denies he cannot play with Ronaldo
- Lavishes praise on Ten Hag's fresh approach
WHAT HAPPENED? Fernandes addressed several topics in a wide-ranging interview, including his on-field relationship with Ronaldo and the changes Ten Hag has made to the squad's mentality. The United playmaker has defended his club record alongside a fellow Portugal international while talking up his new manager's unique coaching philosophy - which he believes is comparable to the Dutchman's counterparts at Manchester City and Liverpool.
WHAT THEY SAID: "First of all, [Ten Hag] has an idea," Fernandes told The Athletic. "He has a style. You have to follow his rules. He is strict on that. And I like that. He has brought discipline, which is something I think we missed in the past. That is what Pep (Guardiola) and (Jurgen) Klopp have been doing for years."
Addressing claims he performs better without Ronaldo, Fernandes added: "Most of my assists last season were for him, so I don’t think (it is fair). I just had a poor season in terms of my own numbers. I don’t think it is about Cristiano or myself. Before he came, I was also taking the penalties, but I had two chances to take the penalties last season and I missed both. So I cannot blame Cristiano for taking penalties, especially when he scores them."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: After making a lightning start to his United career, Fernandes' numbers have tailed off badly since Ronaldo joined the club last summer. He managed just 16 Premier League goal involvements during the 2021-22 campaign, compared with 29 the season prior.
IN THREE PHOTOS:
WHAT NEXT FOR FERNANDES? Fernandes is on international duty with Portugal alongside Ronaldo over the next week, with Fernando Santos' side set to take on the Czech Republic and Spain in the Nations League.