Erik ten Hag

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has backed midfielder Bruno Fernandes despite his lack of goal contributions this season.

The Portuguese has scored just one goal and provided two assists in 13 matches across all competitions this season.

The Red Devils have scored only 13 goals in the Premier League so far this season, the worst tally among the top six teams in the league. Four out of those six teams, though, have played one game more than United.

One of the big reasons for Manchester United’s poor goalscoring form has been the poor form of their attackers and Fernandes’ lack of goal contributions. However, Ten Hag believes that the midfielder is still making a big impact on the team.

In a press conference ahead of their home clash against Tottenham Hotspur on October 19, the Dutch manager said (via Metro):

“I think Bruno is playing really good this season, so I can see in that fact, he can produce more goals, assists.
“But I think he’s often in the line of the goal and he’s playing a massive role in a lot of moments of football for us: in building up attacks, creativity, movement, but also in transitions, in both sides, in the defensive transitions he’s magnificent and doing a really good job, so I’m really happy with his performances.”

Fernandes joined Manchester United from Sporting CP in January 2020 and had a prolific start to his career at Old Trafford.

He registered eight goals and seven assists in 14 league matches that season. He followed it up with 18 goals and 11 assists in 37 matches in his first full season at the club.

Erik ten Hag on lack of goals for Manchester United this season
Marcus Rashford has been Manchester United’s top scorer so far this season with five goals in 11 appearances in all competitions. Cristiano Ronaldo has struggled massively this season, scoring just twice in 12 matches.

Anthony Martial has looked good when he has played, finding the back of the net three times in four appearances. However, he has spent most of the season on the sidelines due to multiple injuries. Jadon Sancho and Antony have scored three times apiece in 20 combined appearances.

Ten Hag, however, isn’t too fazed by the lack of goals from his forwards. He said:

“I think Rashy [Marcus Rashford] scored five goals out of 11, Antony wasn’t involved in the first games but scored three in his first four appearances, Jadon Sancho scored three goals, Cristiano Ronaldo scored two goals, [Anthony] Martial, don’t forget him, he scored also three goals.”
He added:

“So, I think we have players who can be productive, so that matter of fact is not a real concern.”

Manchester United are the only team along side Crystal Palace to have a negative goal difference in the Premier League’s Top 10 so far this season. They will hope to rectify this soon as they attempt to challenge for a top-four finish.

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