Opinion: Bruno berating needs to stop

Thursday 30 November 2023 08:00

Frankly, I find it quite ridiculous that Bruno Fernandes had to defend himself against criticism, when he sat alongside Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag for the press conference to preview the game with Galatasaray, which turned into a thrilling 3-3 draw that was disappointing from our perspective.

The skipper is such an articulate talker and engaging personality that maybe he feels fair game for this but it seems to be that anybody wearing the captain's armband is a target for laser focus and much debate on who should lead the Reds is a sure way to spark opinion.

Before we even get to his on-field contribution, evidenced again in the intimidating atmosphere at RAMS Park, it is worth pointing out Bruno is a charming guy who loves football, will fight for his team-mates and has an insatiable appetite to win things.

Such characteristics may help reflect leadership qualities and Ten Hag seems to think he's an ideal choice.

Then let's consider the handing of penalty duties to Marcus Rashford at Everton last weekend, a move designed to help kickstart the forward in terms of getting back on the goal trail. Bold? Yes. Brave? Maybe. But justified when our no.10 took the perfect spot-kick to beat his England colleague Jordan Pickford and help set us on the way to clinching three points on the road.


When Alejandro Garnacho antagonised the home fans and rivals with his celebration this evening, it was his captain who ushered him away, and put a firm, but protective arm around his shoulder, with the clear message to focus and concentrate on the task in hand because there was a huge amount of work still to do.

Garna, on a real high after his wonderful weekend acrobatics which were projected across the world, will learn and Bruno will help him in this respect. So shows of the required leadership are not hard to find with Fernandes.

Stats always seem to follow Bruno Fernandes around, underlining his importance to club and country. He is our chief creator and usually to the fore when it comes to decisive attacking play.

Opta thrive on picking out key data and posted two in quick succession during the first half in Istanbul.

After he received a pass from Rasmus Hojlund and squeezed a ball through Sacha Boey's legs to Garnacho, the Argentina international's spectacular finish moved Bruno to eight assists in the Champions League since 2021/22. Despite not even playing in the competition last term, that figure from 12 appearances puts him only behind Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid - 13) and Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City - 9).

Next up, he strode forward purposefully and unleashed a venomous drive over the top of Fernando Muslera that drew even a ripple of recognition from the staunch Galatasaray backers in the press box.

Another post on X was even more impressive as he has both scored and assisted in 16 different matches since making his Premier League bow in February 2020. Nobody has bettered this return but Liverpool's leading man Mohamed Salah has contributed the same number in that timeframe.

Only the outside of a post denied him a winner he personally deserved and he could do little to prevent things from slipping away from United. There were enough chances in the closing stages to edge back in front, as our display, and his, warranted.

However, you could hear the away section belt out 'Bruno!' in the second half, after Scott McTominay scored the third goal. They appreciate his efforts. Everybody else should too.

The opinions in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Manchester United Football Club.