EPL

'Don't use my name to attack Cristiano!' – Fernandes denies taking a swipe at Ronaldo

By Sports Desk January 15, 2023

Bruno Fernandes insists he was not taking a swipe at Cristiano Ronaldo when describing Manchester United as "a proper team" following the superstar forward's exit.

Portugal international Fernandes struck a controversial equaliser against Manchester City on Saturday before Marcus Rashford earned a 2-1 comeback victory for United at Old Trafford.

Erik ten Hag's side have now won nine matches in a row – seven of those since Ronaldo's high-profile exit in November – in what is their best league run since January 2017.

It has been quite the turnaround for United, who lost their opening two matches against Brentford and Brighton and Hove Albion but are now up in third place.

Speaking to BT Sport after United's latest win, Fernandes said: "We used to be individuals, now we are a team. You can see a proper team that works for each other."

Those comments were perceived as being a dig at international colleague Ronaldo, but Fernandes took to Instagram later on Saturday to clarify what he meant.

"I know it's difficult to see Manchester United doing well, [but I] don't have anything to [say] about us apart [from] good things," he posted. "Don't use my name to attack Cristiano.

"Cristiano was part of our team for half the season and as I said in many interviews, everyone since [the win against] Liverpool has been amazing and acting like a proper team."

Fernandes, who now has four goals and four assists in 26 games this season, added: "You can see the results. We carry on!"

Ronaldo joined Saudi Arabian side Al Nassr earlier this month after his United contract was terminated by mutual consent following an explosive interview with Piers Morgan.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner has yet to make his debut for his new club due to a two-match domestic ban carried over from his time with United.

Ten Hag's in-form side are back in Premier League action on Wednesday with a trip to Crystal Palace.

Related items

  • Erik ten Hag: Manchester United have a defensive puzzle to solve against City Erik ten Hag: Manchester United have a defensive puzzle to solve against City

    Erik ten Hag admits he must solve a defensive “puzzle” for Sunday’s Manchester derby.

    Harry Maguire has joined Luke Shaw, Lisandro Martinez, Tyrell Malacia and Aaron Wan-Bissaka on the sidelines through injury and Manchester United boss Ten Hag is expected to pick from the same squad that edged past Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup in midweek.

    Sofyan Amrabat returned to the United side on Wednesday on the left, with Diogo Dalot on the right.

    Ten Hag said on manutd.com: “We have to lay the puzzle because we are still missing full-backs. We are still missing centre-halves.

    “So we have to be creative but I think we can. On Wednesday, we showed we can, if we have the right plan.

    “But, more important than that, if we have that passion, and that ambition, and desire and determination to win the game, then we are able to do it.”

    United’s best run of the season was halted last weekend by a 2-1 defeat against Fulham, dealing a major blow to their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League.

    A trip to the Etihad Stadium, where United have conceded a combined 10 goals in their last two visits, presents a formidable challenge, but Ten Hag believes they can put the Fulham disappointment behind them.

    “Of course, it’s annoying,” he said. “It still annoys me, that game against Fulham. But it happened and, also, we can’t forget what happened before that.

    “From January on, we are in very good form, on a very good run. We bounced back (at Forest) and we have to keep this process going. We’re looking forward, great games are coming up – big games and good challenges.

    “So the team is really excited about that. I’m excited about going into this game, and also the coming games, but Sunday is very important.”

  • I’m happy in Munich – Eric Dier extends stay at Bayern I’m happy in Munich – Eric Dier extends stay at Bayern

    Eric Dier will remain at Bayern Munich for another season after a pre-agreed clause was met, the Bundesliga giants have said.

    The 30-year-old joined Bayern on loan from Tottenham in January and has made seven appearances.

    With Dier’s Spurs contract set to expire on June 30, an option to make his transfer permanent if he played a certain number of games was included in the deal.

    Dier’s stay at Bayern will now run until at least June 30, 2025, and he said on fcbayern.com: “I’m happy in Munich. Now my future is sorted and I can focus on playing well for the club and trying to help the club to win games, win competitions, even though it’s been a difficult period for us.”

    Dier had made only four appearances for Spurs this season, three of them off the bench, before following former team-mate Harry Kane to Germany.

    The news officially brings to an end Dier’s time at Tottenham, where he made 365 appearances during a nine-and-a-half-year spell.

    Max Eberl, FC Bayern board member for sport, said: “He’s a valuable support in our defence with all his character.”

  • Pep Guardiola savours ‘dream’ derby preparation Pep Guardiola savours ‘dream’ derby preparation

    Pep Guardiola feels having four clear days ahead of a Manchester derby is a “dream” at this stage of the season.

    Guardiola’s Manchester City host arch-rivals United at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday in what could be a key match in their bid to win a fourth successive Premier League crown.

    It is a crucial month for City with games against title rivals Liverpool and Arsenal to come, as well as the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie and an FA Cup quarter-final.

    City were last in action on Tuesday when they thrashed Luton 6-2 in the cup fifth round and Guardiola believes the derby preparations since have been ideal.

    “Tuesday to Sunday is enough (time), it is a dream,” he said. “We will recover well.

    “The problem is Saturday to Tuesday with trips, that is less recovery, but the players were extraordinary against Luton.

    “We had two days off with rest, not seeing each other, and then two days to prepare for United.”

    Yet despite opportunities for rest being minimal as last season’s treble winners again pursue glory on three fronts, Guardiola admits this time of year – with all its intensity – is what he relishes most.

    He said: “Absolutely, (these periods) are the best. How nice. I prefer that than the opposite.

    “It is so nice to have this fixture against United, to have the chance to qualify for the quarter-finals of the Champions League, then we have Anfield and then before the international break we have the chance against Newcastle to reach the semi-final of the FA Cup.

    “We worked so hard since we arrived here to live these kind of moments.”

    United’s form throughout most of the season has been unconvincing and they face a tall order to finish in the top four.

    Manager Erik ten Hag’s future has been the subject of recurring speculation but Guardiola refused to offer an opinion on the reasons for United’s failures to sustain momentum.

    The Spaniard said: “I expect the best from United but I don’t talk a word about what they do because I respect them too much and I don’t want my words to be misunderstood.

    “When I make comments people always say, ‘Pep jibe’ and it’s never my intention. That’s why it is better I don’t say anything.

    “I have a lot of respect for the institution, United, and the players and Erik, and when I see what we have to do my players will know it.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.