Fernandes fitness 'a question mark' for Man Utd clash with Tottenham – Ten Hag

By Sports Desk April 26, 2023

Bruno Fernandes has "a question mark" over his fitness, Erik ten Hag said ahead of Manchester United's Premier League clash with Tottenham.

The midfielder was forced off during United's FA Cup semi-final win over Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday with an ankle injury and was later pictured in a protective boot.

With Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane already sidelined in a blow to United's defence, the loss of Fernandes would hurt Ten Hag's side going forward.

But on the eve of the trip to Spurs, the manager could not confirm whether Fernandes would be available.

But the Dutchman is not ready to reveal whether the midfielder will sit out their crucial encounter with Spurs or if he could yet be available to feature.

"There are some unavailable," he said. "Martinez, Varane. We have to see how Bruno Fernandes is. We don't know yet. He is a question mark.

"It's more often that players [wear the boot], that we protect them. But [the ankle] has to settle down. We all have seen he played the full game [90 minutes before extra time].

"It happened in the first half. [The game is] Thursday, so tomorrow is quick, but we have to see what is possible."

The win on penalties at Wembley was an effective tonic for an ailing United side after they had lost emphatically at Sevilla to crash out of the Europa League three days earlier.

David de Gea and Harry Maguire both committed costly errors leading to goals in that game, but Ten Hag has continued to talk up their character as the pair recover.

"They are resilient," he said. "They are able to do it. It's not easy, but they can do it. You can have a bad setback but show your character to bounce back.

"I am the Manchester United manager. I have to make sure our players are ready tomorrow against a good opponent, good team, good players. I have to focus [and make sure] they have energy."

Now, United will face a Tottenham team reeling from a 6-1 rout at the hands of top-four rivals Newcastle United last time out.

Harry Kane, who has been linked with a move to Old Trafford, scored the only Spurs goal.

"It's quite clear, his impact on the game for Spurs," Ten Hag said of Kane. "We have a plan for that. You have to defend as a team. He's a clever player, he can have a big impact on the game."

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    Kobbie Mainoo lauded the togetherness demonstrated by Manchester United as they stunned rivals Manchester City 2-1 to claim the FA Cup.

    Mainoo and fellow teenager Alejandro Garnacho were on target at Wembley to deny Pep Guardiola's side the double after they secured their record-breaking fourth successive Premier League title last weekend.

    Although Erik ten Hag's job was reportedly on the line - regardless of the result - United defended brilliantly to largely keep City at bay, despite Jeremy Doku's late strike for the Citizens.

    The Red Devils subsequently held out to end a disappointing season on a high, securing a place in the Europa League next term with their first FA Cup triumph since 2016.

    And Mainoo, who was named in Gareth Southgate's provisional England squad for the forthcoming European Championship, saluted the efforts of United's players and staff.

    "[It means] absolutely everything," he told BBC Sport. "It's been a tough season of ups and downs. All the fans had to look forward to was this final. Last year, I was in the stands watching. I couldn't be involved.

    "We knew we had to come together. The staff and the players, the preparation has been amazing. We showed that we can compete, we can come together and win on such a big stage."

    Garnacho also paid tribute to his team-mate, who became the first English teenager to score in an FA Cup final since Steve MacKenzie for City against Tottenham in 1981, while dedicating the victory to United's supporters.

    "Just incredible; I say he's the best player in the squad, and he's the youngest. I'm so happy for him," the Argentine said of Mainoo.

    "[It is an] incredible feeling. Nobody believed in us, but we are together, here with these fans. An incredible moment for us, also for me and Kobbie to score the goals, but all together, we fought like it was the last day of our lives. We're so happy.

    "The fans were incredible. They're always there – home games, away games, now Wembley. We won for the fans."

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    Rangers thought they had taken the lead midway through the second half at Hampden Park, when Abdallah Sima tapped in from on the line.

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    Data Debrief: Hart bows out on top

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    The 37-year-old retires with six titles to his name with Celtic, following on from five trophies during his time with Manchester City.

    In what proved to be his final Scottish Cup campaign, Hart conceded five goals in five appearances, keeping three clean sheets and recording a save percentage of 66.67.

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    Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo were the heroes as Manchester United pulled off an upset to beat rivals Manchester City 2-1 in the FA Cup final.

    United boss Erik ten Hag's job was reportedly on the line whatever the result in Saturday's game, but a mix-up between Josko Gvardiol and Stefan Ortega was capitalised upon by Garnacho to hand the Red Devils the lead at Wembley Stadium.

    Mainoo's fine finish made it 2-0 shortly after, and though Jeremy Doku pulled a goal back late on, United held firm to claim the famous trophy for the first time since 2016 and deny City a double after they secured a fourth straight Premier League title last weekend.

    It now remains to be seen whether Ten Hag will suffer the same fate as compatriot Louis van Gaal, who was sacked as United boss after winning the FA Cup eight years ago.

    Pep Guardiola's men started the brighter, though it was United who went close first as Ortega got his body behind Garnacho's fierce strike.

    Garnacho was not to be denied with 30 minutes on the clock, though, as he pounced on a calamitous mix-up in the City defence.

    A long ball over the top was not dealt with by either Ortega or Gvardiol, who inadvertently nodded it beyond his goalkeeper, allowing Garnacho to tuck home into an empty net, becoming the first teenager to score an FA Cup final goal since Cristiano Ronaldo in 2004.

    And another teenager in Mainoo made it 2-0 before the break at the culmination a brilliantly incisive move.

    Garnacho was involved again as he burst down the right and cut back for Bruno Fernandes, whose deft pass teed up 19-year-old Mainoo to coolly slot past Ortega.

    Erling Haaland nearly halved the deficit when he rattled the crossbar after the interval, before Andre Onana made a superb stop to keep out Kyle Walker's ferocious long-range drive.

    Onana should have done better in the 87th minute, though. United's goalkeeper got down to Doku's hopeful attempt, but could only parry it into the corner.

    Yet United ensured Onana's mistake did not prove costly, as City's hopes of a double were dashed and the Red Devils claimed a stunning victory in what could have been Ten Hag's final game at the helm.

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    United went into the game as outsiders, a fair view considering the 31 points that separated these city rivals in the Premier League table, but the Red Devils' youngsters turned up in some style at Wembley to lead their side to glory, as well as securing European football next season.

    Garnacho scored with one of his three shots on target, more than any other player on the pitch, while Mainoo's performance did no harm to his chances of making Gareth Southgate's final squad for Euro 2024, ruthlessly finishing his only big chance and again having an impact in both defence and attack.

    Mainoo's goal also made him the first English teenager to net in an FA Cup final since Steve MacKenzie for City against Tottenham in 1981, and he looks set to be a big fixture for both United and England for many years to come.

    De Bruyne's dismal derby day

    Kevin De Bruyne finished the Premier League season with 10 assists and four goals in just 18 appearances, but he, alongside many of City's stars, looked well off the pace here.

    De Bruyne completed an uncharacteristically low 71 per cent of his passes before Guardiola had seen enough, hauling off the Belgium international for Julian Alvarez with over half an hour left.

    City ended their league campaign with nine straight wins to seal the title, but they looked a shadow of that side this time out and will finish the season with just one trophy, after claiming a treble last term.

    Doku did make an impact after his half-time introduction, but though he managed to cut into United's lead, it was too little, too late.

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