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‘You saw how great’: Erik ten Hag praises captain Bruno Fernandes after penalty decision

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag was impressed with the leadership qualities of Bruno Fernandes after he asked Marcus Rashford to take the penalty against Everton.

The Red Devils secured a 3-0 Premier League win over the Toffees at Goodison Park yesterday. Alejandro Garnacho grabbed the headlines after his sensational overhead kick from the edge of the box.

Aside from the Argentine, Rashford and Anthony Martial found the back of the net. The former scored the club’s second goal from the penalty spot, ending a scoring drought of almost 12 weeks.

Speaking after the game, Ten Hag said that the decision proved ‘how great’ a captain Fernandes is. The Portuguese had the confidence in Rashford to take the penalty in such a key situation.

The Dutch tactician added that such leadership qualities are required within a club to have a successful season, he told “You saw how great a captain Bruno is. He could see, feel, assess that his team-mate needed that goal.”

“Also he had the confidence in Rashy to take the penalty because he knows he is a very good penalty taker. ‘Take that ball and take your confidence.’ As a team, you need that.

“You need such leadership and you back each other, you cover each other and you give each other the confidence because you know you need it to get a successful season.”

Fernandes has been United’s regular penalty taker since his arrival from Sporting Lisbon in 2020. It was a brave decision from him to hand the spot kick to Rashford on the day.

The 26-year-old has been going through a rough phase this term. He had scored just once prior to yesterday. Hopefully, the penalty goal will turnaround his fortunes at the club.

Apart from Rashford, Anthony Martial was also on the scoresheet yesterday. He won the penalty for the second goal before calmly slotting the club’s third from a Fernandes assist.

The Toffees have been Martial’s favourite opposition during his career and he scored his ninth goal against them yesterday. The 27-year-old could keep his place in midweek.

United face a must-win Champions League game against Galatasaray on the road. Rasmus Hojlund missed the Merseyside trip with a muscle injury but could be available on Wednesday.

We won’t be surprised if Martial starts up front on the back of his two goal contributions.

Stats from