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Benfica boss reveals stance over Man Utd loanee Alvaro Fernandez’s future



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Benfica boss Roger Schmidt has revealed his stance over Manchester United loanee Alvaro Fernandes after an impressive performance against Moreirense.

The manager started Fernandez for the first time since mid February and it was his full debut in the league for the Portugese outfit.

It has been a difficult spell for the United loanee, who also struggled to break into the Granada side that he was with during the first half of the season.

Last term, Fernandez had success in the Championship with Preston North End, and his quality is undeniable to those familiar with him. However, chances in the last 10 months have been hard to come by.

However, the left-back made a positive impression during his first Liga Portugal start, with a 91% passing accuracy, winning two of three attempted tackles and making five recoveries as he played the full game in the 3-0 win for Benfica.

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The Portuguese club have the option to make Fenrnandez’s stay permanent. There was also a clause for an obligation to buy if the Spaniard played over 50 per cent of the minutes available – but that is almost impossible now.

Speaking on the performance of Fernandez, as well as whether the club have made a decision regarding the defender, manager Schmidt told Abola: “The situation is clear, he is on loan and there is the option of him staying at Benfica.

“It’s an open process. He hasn’t had much playing time, because Aursnes has played well, but he is a talented player and there is an option for him to stay. We will see what is best for us and for the player.

“Right now we are focused on finishing the season well, only then will we make the decision. But it was good for him to play today and win.

“Álvaro is very talented, let’s see if we keep him or not.”

The Benfica boss also explained the difficulties behind leaving the talented youngster on the bench, as well as other lineup decisions he has to make.

“Of course, it’s the hardest part of being a coach, making decisions. Still, I’m very happy to have a lot of good options,” he stressed.

“It’s important for us, because Benfica is a team with big goals. We played three very difficult games, the players did well, today was the time for others to show up and it was very good for the team that those who played today showed that they can get the job done.

“They showed a good mentality, they are technically and physically well, having everyone available for the rest of the season is good. It’s not easy when you have as many good options as we do, but this is the kind of headaches I like.”