Ten Hag insists ‘inspirational’ Fernandes is still captain despite 7-0 antics

Erik ten Hag has insisted that the "inspirational" Bruno Fernandes is still Manchester United captain despite his antics in the 7-0 loss to Liverpool.

Fernandes has been criticised for his behaviour in Sunday's thrashing defeat at Anfield after he appeared to ask to be taken off during the rout. However, Ten Hag has now confirmed that the midfielder will continue to wear the armband when club captain Harry Maguire is not on the pitch for the rest of the season.

Speaking ahead of Thursday's Europa League clash with Real Betis, the United boss explained: "Yes, definitely [still captain], I think he's playing a brilliant season, he's played an important role in the position that we are.

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"He's giving energy to the team, running a lot with intensity, in the right way. He's pointing and coaching players, he's an inspiration for the whole team.

"No one is perfect, everyone makes mistakes. I'm really happy to have Bruno Fernandes in my team and I'm happy with him as our captain with Harry not on the pitch."

Marcus Rashford also spoke to the media during the pre-match press conference and was full of praise for his team-mate, adding: "I love playing with Bruno, as you can imagine. He's the perfect player to play with.

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"He's been a good leader for us, even when he's not captain, which is always a good sign. He's helped other players become better leaders and the reality is that we can't be an organised team in terms of just one leader being captain.

"He's done a lot for us. I don't have anything negative to say about Bruno. As the manager said, nobody is perfect. I support him and I'm 100% behind him."

Fernandes has once again been a key man for the Red Devils this season, providing a combined 18 goals and assists in his 40 appearances so far this term.

Ten Hag will be hoping the Portugal international can inspire his side once again on Thursday as they bid to bounce back from their crushing loss to Liverpool.

United welcome Betis to Old Trafford in the first leg of their Europa League round of 16 tie ahead of the return leg in Spain next week.


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