Skip to main content

Bruno Fernandes pinpoints two qualities Erik ten Hag has brought to Manchester United

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag arrives ahead of the UEFA Europa League group E match between Sheriff Tiraspol and Manchester United at Stadionul Zimbru on September 15, 2022 in Chisinau, Moldova.
(Image credit: Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Erik ten Hag has brought a level of discipline and stability to Manchester United that was previously lacking, according to Bruno Fernandes. 

The Dutch manager arrived from Ajax over the summer and oversaw a significant squad turnover, as six new players arrived and stalwarts like Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic and Juan Mata departed.

The mini revolution was required after a disastrous 2021/22 campaign that saw United finish sixth in the Premier League under first Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and then Ralf Rangnick.

Although Ten Hag got off to a rocky start with back-to-back league defeats to Brighton and Brentford, they have since turned a corner and Fernandes has been impressed by the new boss.

Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes

Bruno Fernandes is enjoying life under Erik ten Hag.  (Image credit: Getty)

"He has an idea. He has a style,” Fernandes told The Athletic. (opens in new tab)

“You have to follow his rules. He is strict on that. And I like that. He has brought discipline, which is something I think we missed in the past. Everyone must be on the same page.

“That is what Pep (Guardiola) and (Jurgen) Klopp have been doing for years, because they have stability in the club and in the way they choose the transfer market and build the team, which is really important for them to get the rewards.

“I saw the manager say in a press conference that we do not want to bring players just for the sake of it, we want to bring the right players for what we want to do. It is something the club needs.

“We still have a margin to improve and he needs time to get the most out of us with his idea of playing. I believe we will get to the point with him where we are established as a team and everyone is on the same page.”

United’s summer spending spree came to over £200 million as big fees were splashed on Antony, Casemiro and Lisandro Martinez.

But Fernandes was also asked about a transfer of his own that never went through – a mooted move to Tottenham in the summer of 2019.

Spurs had a bid rebuffed by Fernandes’ club at the time, Sporting CP, and the attacking midfielder revealed that he wasn’t best pleased.

“Obviously I wanted to go to the Premier League. The manager, Mauricio Pochettino, was the one who wanted me there. It was a good offer but Sporting tried their best to keep me,” he said.

“The president spoke with me but he spoke with me on the wrong day. It was the day after they decided to refuse the offer from Tottenham and I was really angry.”

PSG head coach Mauricio Pochettino scratching his chin

Fernandes was upset that he was denied the chance to work under Mauricio Pochettino at Spurs.  (Image credit: Getty)

He didn’t have to wait long to get his longed-for move to England, though, as United manager Solskjaer oversaw his move to Old Trafford six months later.

“At the beginning of January, my agent said, ‘You don’t need to worry, because any time I bring you a club, it will be a dream club for you’. He knew that the dream club was Man United,” Fernandes recalled.  

“Ole was a big part of that because he actually went to see my games. He saw me moaning a lot in that game against Porto — I moaned a lot against their players, against the referees.

“I moan against everyone who is against me, not those who are with me. Ole saw someone that was passionate and it helped him sign me for the club.

“On my first day, he said to me, ‘Just be yourself’. He said, ‘I know what you are capable of with the ball, but I also want you to be the leader you have been at Sporting’.”

More Manchester United stories

Plans for January at Manchester United are already being drawn up but apparently depend upon the future of Cristiano Ronaldo

A replacement for David De Gea has apparently been identified, while Jude Bellingham is apparently on the radar. United are also in for Barcelona ace Gavi.

Meanwhile, former Manchester United captain Gary Neville has been speaking to FFT about the influence of American owners and how they threaten "the fabric of the English game".

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1