Manchester United captain Bruno Fernandes emphasises the need to protect young players from criticism
Manchester United captain Bruno Fernandes highlighted the importance of protecting the young players from unnecessary criticism in the modern environment. The 29-year-old pointed out the inevitable scrutiny young players get once they start playing more regularly for a big team.
United suffered a poor start to the season as they have lost nine out of 19 games in all competitions. United manager Erik ten Hag faced issues like injury crisis and poor individual performances from senior players.
Nevertheless, the United boss used the opportunity to give chances to young talents to add freshness and energy. Kobbie Mainoo, Hannibal Mejbri, Alejandro Garnacho, and Facundo Pellistri have featured for the senior team this season.
Mainoo and Garnacho played a pivotal role in the recent 0-3 victory against Everton in the Premier League. An injury to Casemiro leaves a void in midfield and after Mainoo’s performance, one can expect him to feature more.
Fernandes told TNT Sports (h/t Eurosport) that senior players need to help the youngsters deal with both criticism and complacency. He said:
“I think for young players when they come through, it’s easier in the beginning but it gets hard when they start doing something really good because as soon as they get some game where it’s not going so well they’re going to get the criticism. They have to deal with that and I think us as experienced players, senior players, we have to help them on that and make sure they understand that it’s not everything bad when [things] go wrong and it’s not everything perfect when it goes good.”
United are heading into the congested fixture period as many of the first-team players are still unavailable due to injuries. Ten Hag inclines towards using the squad and rotating players to uphold the level of fitness and performance.
The youngsters are likely to feature more often and given the current predicament of United, expectations would be high. United have won five out of their last six games in the Premier League as they chase the top-four position.
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The club of United’s stature and the successful history of their academy comes with a big pressure on up-and-coming talents. It is good that Fernandes understands the responsibility of the leaders in the locker room to help the youngsters.