Bruno says absentees are no excuse for Reds

Wednesday 20 September 2023 23:42

Bruno Fernandes has refused to make any excuses for Manchester United's 4-3 defeat to Bayern Munich.

The Reds may have lost our UEFA Champions League opener but the skipper accepted Bayern are on a record-busting run in the group stages of the competition and we still have to welcome them to Old Trafford in our final Group A match.

Clearly, the concession of goals at key times counted against Erik ten Hag's men, who started and finished brightly but struggled to contain the Bundesliga giants on their home turf.

Much has been made of the fact that, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire joining the injured list, you could almost make a whole team of absentees for the trip to Munich, with three goalkeepers being named on the bench.

"We don't have to think about the injured players," Bruno told TNT Sports. "We have enough players to give a response on the pitch. Obviously, we want everyone fit, as many players as possible, and we know we have some important players injured, but that's not an excuse not to win games."

The captain feels the loss is a hard one to stomach, even though there is plenty of time left to accrue enough points to qualify for the knockout stages in the new year.

"Obviously, it's really difficult to take this one," he said. "We knew it was going to be tough to play against Bayern. We knew they're such a great team. When you give so much space to them, and time to them, they're going to hurt you. We start the game, then 1-0 down, 2-0 down. We came back in the second half, to 2-1, and we concede an early goal. Again we came back, to 3-2, and we concede again.

"Overall, we stayed in the game but could have hurt them a little bit more, had a bit more patience on the ball. There were many good things to take from the game but it wasn't enough to win the game."

Fernandes was asked to elaborate on the tactics Erik ten Hag's side were trying to adopt at the Allianz Arena, with Facundo Pellistri coming into the side for Scott McTominay in the only change from the reverse to Brighton & Hove Albion.

"We want to be on the ball," he replied. "We knew Bayern were going to press high in the first few minutes. When they play at home, they were always like this. We try to keep on the ball and find spaces where we could hurt them. We had a big chance in the beginning, we could go 1-0 [up], but we didn't score. After, Bayern had that chance and they scored.

"It's always difficult to come from behind against Bayern. We know how tough and how strong they are. Overall, we did good things but there are many things to improve still."