Former midfielder Owen Hargreaves thinks Bruno Fernandes was “unplayable” for Man Utd in their 4-1 victory over Real Betis on Thursday night.
Just a week on from ending the club’s six-year wait for silverware by lifting the Carabao Cup came another historic afternoon for the Red Devils as they suffered a 7-0 Anfield annihilation.
Sunday’s loss equalled United’s heaviest ever defeat and Ten Hag stuck with the same starting line-up that lost at Liverpool as they looked to bounce back in the Europa League against Betis.
Marcus Rashford’s early opener for Man Utd was cancelled out by a stunning Ayoze Perez strike, but second half Antony, Fernandes and Wout Weghorst goals sealed a 4-1 last-16 first-leg victory.
And, after the match, former Man Utd midfielder Hargreaves hailed Fernandes as the “best player on the pitch” following heavy criticism of him in their loss at Liverpool.
“There was a spell where he was unplayable, every little touch was perfect,” Hargreaves said of Fernandes on BT Sport. “Honestly, he was brilliant, the best player on the pitch.”
Fellow pundit and former team-mate Paul Scholes was in agreement, he added: “Bruno was brilliant today in that central midfield role.
“He controlled the game. I thought he was sensational. That’s what you expect from a Manchester United midfielder and captain.
“It was loads better from United. Obviously the quality of opposition wasn’t quite Liverpool but they’ve shown great character tonight.
“They had that little sticky spell just before half-time but I thought they were fantastic in the second half.”
With Man Utd 3-1 up, Fernandes put a late challenge in on the Real Betis goalkeeper with the referee giving him a yellow card for the incident.
And Hargreaves thinks it was the correct decision, he continued: “It’s not a red but it was a yellow. I think obviously what happened is they had a team meeting where they showed them not tracking back and not tackling.
“So you’ve got it in your head you are going to press and tackle and that’s what they did today. But it’s not a red.”
But Scholes thought it was unnecessary from the Portugal international, he said: “It was just a bit stupid really. They were up in the game. It was a little bit of risk and gamble he didn’t need to take.”
READ MORE: Antony and Weghorst score in Man Utd win but both still cop it in the Mailbox…