Erik ten Hag believes that Bruno Fernandes is the right man to captain Manchester United.
Speaking in the second part of the pre-match press conference ahead of tomorrow’s Premier League tie against Nottingham Forest, the manager confirmed that “Of course I back him and think he has to make his point.
“It’s justified [Bruno’s complaint about a hand ball decision vs Spurs], it’s a clear penalty. You can express that.
“Also, don’t get distracted by it. He’s an inspiration, an example for the team. He is a very good captain.”
The manager was also asked if he was satisfied with Antony’s performances so far this season.
“In pre-season he scored two goals and made one assist, so I think he’s in a good direction. Now he has to speed up, because for us good is not good enough.
“Don’t get frustrated, focus on football and performing.”
Asked what he felt went wrong in Saturday’s defeat at Spurs, Ten Hag said:
“”For the first 35 minutes, we were so good in the game. We dominated totally. We should’ve scored minimum once, I think twice. They were nowhere, nothing.
“And then things happened in the game and they got distracted, not doing your jobs anymore. I’m not used to it from this team because they always do it.
It’s what the fans can expect and what we demand.”
“They [United players] didn’t run. They run in the wrong moments, too late – especially the front. They didn’t recover. It happened, you can’t turn it around. It’s a demand here if you want to win games.
“I told them, I give them the feedback. This is not acceptable and we have to work as a team. We have to do it in togetherness and everyone individually has to take responsibility. We need accountable players.
“We are in the same boat. So I’m responsible for it. So me as well. We have to do that in togetherness and we have to face the first two games were not good enough. But still, we won one and from the other, we can take the positives.”
Ten Hag was also asked if he thinks he is short of attacking options.
“No,” he replied.
“We have seven front players and young talent coming up, as we’ve seen in pre-season, who are getting close [to the first team].”
Pressed on why United have suffered so many injuries at the start of the season, the manager said “There is a always a reason, but you can’t avoid it in top football.
“Players go to their limits and you see it across all the teams, injuries are coming. But it is up to our job to do research to find reasons and maybe you can learn from it to the future.”
The first part of the conference is summarised here.