Bruno anticipates shift in his position

Saturday 23 March 2024 08:00

Manchester United captain Bruno Fernandes believes he will drop into a deeper position as his career evolves.

The skipper played centre-back as a youngster and was in the defensive role again as the Reds stormed back to beat Liverpool 4-3 in the Emirates FA Cup last weekend.

The emergency role is something he embraces, he was even alongside Christian Eriksen there at times, when Harry Maguire ventured forward to cause problems with his height troubling the Merseysiders' defence.

There was one saving headed clearance as the Old Trafford crowd held its breath, with the visitors about to embark on the sort of breakaway that yielded our winner, from substitute Amad.

Why Bruno was Man of the Match Video

Why Bruno was Man of the Match

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Fernandes has often shown his versatility, performing as a no.10 or a no.8, further forward and also out wide, when called upon do a job there.

One appearance when performing 'quarterback' duties against Everton last season sticks in his mind as one of his best-ever displays.

The Portugal international's regular position within Erik ten Hag's formation is one that allows him to be the chief creator, exploiting, in particular, the pace of the wide forwards like Marcus Rashford and Alejandro Garnacho.

Bruno is somebody who always puts the team first but is still capable of racking up the goals and assists, even if he feels that his long-term future will be to drop into a deep-lying playmaker's slot. 

During a fascinating and lengthy interview with A Bola in his homeland, the 29-year-old was asked about his place in the line-up this season and disputed the suggestion he has played as a 'false nine', such as in the derby defeat to Manchester City recently.

"No, it's not the false nine," he stated. "I don't do those movements. The ones I make are not 'false nine' because I'm not very used to them. I try my best to make those movements that the coach wants.

"He also asks me to go down [the pitch], because my qualities are not to be there on the last line and fight with the central defenders, although I can and will try to do it to the fullest, when necessary and the team needs it.

Bruno: United have to compete


Fernandes says he is desperate to help ensure the Reds battle it out with the top sides.

"I have played, however, especially last season with coach Ten Hag, deeper," he added. "In fact, against Everton, I played no.6 and I still think it was one of the most complete games I've played, at all levels.

"In terms of passing, game organisation, defence, tactics. I have a little thought in my head that I'm going to end my career further back, because everyone who started there and went to no.10 ended up retreating on the field at the end.

"It's a position I like, playing deeper, facing the game more. With the ball, it makes my game a lot easier because I have a broader view of the game and it is ideal for what we've talked about with the last pass, which can sometimes come from deeper on the pitch.

"The game with Everton was the one in which I created the most scoring opportunities, even though I was playing deeper and not playing as a no.10."