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Man Utd: Ten Hag tests new midfield role for Fernandes

Bruno Fernandes
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The Portugal international played as a right winger in United’s victory in the Manchester derby.

Erik ten Hag praises Bruno Fernandes for his “brilliant” performance in the Manchester derby despite playing in an unfamiliar position.

Fernandes scored Manchester United’s equalizer in their 2-1 win over Man City on Saturday. 

The 28-year-old usually plays down the middle as an attacking midfielder for the Red Devils. But Ten Hag decided to make use of his pressing qualities on the flanks against Man City.

Fernandes helped Aaron Wan-Bissaka on the right-hand side of United’s defence line throughout the first period. He then switched to the left channel when Ten Hag subbed off Anthony Martial after the break.

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“The idea was with Bruno on the right wing, especially when defending,” Ten Hag explained. “I think we defended as usual, but in possession [Fernandes] had a role to come in between the lines, to bring an extra player there, to bring the opponent problems and hesitation and confusion.

“He played the role really brilliant, on the right and on the left. I think the rest of the team adapted good to the situation.

“We had really good breaks by finding the free man, and Bruno was important in that role, and he was important in pressing as well.

“I didn’t know he was Man of the Match, but he was my Man of the Match, definitely.”

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