Bruno: Ten Hag’s is the way it has to be

Saturday 25 February 2023 10:30

Bruno Fernandes has been one of the key beneficiaries of Erik ten Hag’s management at Manchester United this season.

The Portuguese maestro has be utilised in various positions by the Dutchman during the campaign so far, and appears to be thriving.

But it isn’t Erik’s tactical nous that has impressed our no.8 the most. Bruno says that the standards Ten Hag sets both on and off the pitch are a key driving factor behind United’s form this term.

Speaking to Reds legend Rio Ferdinand for BT Sport’s Between the Lines series, Fernandes recalls the feeling in the United dressing room when Erik first arrived at the club last summer.

Rio x Bruno: Between the Lines Video

Rio x Bruno: Between the Lines

Between The Lines | Watch all 21 minutes of Rio's fascinating touch-screen conversation with Bruno for BT Sport...

“He first arrived and we went on tour and the training sessions that we had here after that and everything, it's the demands [that stood out].

“He demands from people: 'You do it or you're out, and you won't play.' So everyone was a little bit [curious] in the beginning 'will he do that or not? If a big player doesn't do what he wants he will pull him apart or not?'

“And he did it. He did many times. He did it with Cristiano [Ronaldo], he did it with Jadon [Sancho], he did it with Marcus [Rashford] also.”

Back on New Year’s Eve, when Rashford came off the bench to clinch a crucial 1-0 win away to Wolves, Marcus was named among the United substitutes due to a 'disciplinary issue.'

Bruno recalls that game, and the respect it bred for the manager, who showed he was not afraid to make big calls in the big moments.

“Marcus was probably in the best form against Wolves,” recounts Fernandes. “He did something wrong, and the manager just put him out and everyone was just like 'wow.'

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"In the first moment for us it was like 'wow, he's been our main man, we need him,' but in the second one I was sitting with David [De Gea] and I said to him 'this has to be like this.’ Because if not, the younger ones, they will think, 'if he does nothing to him, the next one he will do nothing to me too.'

“So [Erik] demands there from Rashy that you have to be consistent in everything. Not only in your game, in your goals and your performance, but off the pitch also. Marcus in the beginning he was angry because he wants to play. He didn't do nothing wrong; he accepted it, he went to the game, scores and wins. That is the end of the story; him and the coach together smiling, laughing.

“It is the way it has to be. I am a parent; you are a father too. Sometimes you have to make some rules that are hard. If not, they will go over you and in a short period of time they will be the owners of the house!"

Watch Rio Ferdinand’s full interview with Bruno Fernandes on the BT Sport YouTube channel. It is also available to view on and in the United App.