'Bruno Fernandes led us from the first minute!' - Erik ten Hag praises under-fire Man Utd midfielder for Real Betis effort
- Ten Hag gushes over Fernandes
- Midfielder criticised heavily after Liverpool drubbing
- But put in statement performance vs Betis
WHAT HAPPENED? A goal and an assist in a comprehensive 4-1 victory over Real Betis was the perfect way for Fernandes to silence critics following a disastrous performance at the weekend. Erik ten Hag fielded the same starting XI that was dismantled at Anfield in search of a response, and expressed his delight at what he saw from his captain against their Spanish opposition.
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WHAT THEY SAID: “He [Fernandes] was brilliant today," Ten Hag told BT Sport, adding: "He led the team from the first minute, in possession he controlled the rhythm of the game and scored a goal."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: United needed to respond after being thrashed 7-0 by their rivals on Sunday and got off to the ideal start when Marcus Rashford rifled his side ahead just six minutes into their last 16 first leg tie. However, Ayoze Perez fired Betis back level before half-time despite there being a possible handball in the build-up, as United stuttered into the break.
But a completely dominant second half display with goals from captain Fernandes, Antony and Wout Weghorst ensured United secured a big win in front of the Old Trafford crowd. The performance from Fernandes went a long way in silencing critics who suggested he does not have the credentials to wear the armband.
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WHAT NEXT FOR MAN UTD? United await a visit from Southampton in the Premier League this weekend, where another win is a must in order to rebuild momentum. They take a three-goal cushion into their last 16 second leg in Seville, and will feel as though they now have one foot in the Europa League quarter-final.