Portugal manager Roberto Martinez has refuted claims of Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes being petulant and described the playmaker as a ‘dream’ to manage.
The 29-year-old United midfielder has been on hot form for his nation during their EURO 2024 qualifying matches, with five goals and seven assists in the eight games so far.
His contributions have helped guarantee Portugal a first-place finish in Group J, despite still having two fixtures remaining, which has provided new manager Martinez the perfect start to life as manager.
He took over from Fernando Santos following the 2022 World Cup and his team have scored a staggering 32 goals in the eight games he’s been in charge for so far, conceding just two as well.
Whilst Fernandes’ form for his country is electrifying, he is among many players at Old Trafford who are struggling to find their true form since the start of the Premier League season.
Erik ten Hag’s team have started the campaign poorly and will be hoping to improve after they return from the international break.
One criticism that has often been placed on Bruno Fernandes is his reactions during difficult periods like this. Gary Neville has previously explained why he dislikes the playmaker’s antics in this regard.
I don’t talk to any United fan that likes the way Fernandes behaves particularly when the team is losing, when he throws his arms around,” he said earlier this year. “As a football player, he’s been fantastic for United (with) his goals and assists. He says he doesn’t cause a problem when he throws his arms around… he does.
I played with Roy [Keane] who would hand out the odd rollicking. The last few years there’s been players at United tutting which I think is a different type of criticism. It doesn’t help young players.
“I called it out when Cristiano was doing it a couple of years ago, I don’t like it. Direct criticism is fine. He is passionate, he is emotional, and he gets involved with the referee. I’ve got no problem with that. Every United man I speak to feels the same thing, sometimes he goes over the top.”
However, Martinez has come out against such claims and sung the praises of the midfielder, citing several different reasons why he is a ‘dream’ to coach.
“Bruno Fernandes is a very good professional,” Martinez told reporters. “A player who has seven assists, an intelligent player, who adapts to the qualities of his teammates, who gives a lot of tactical flexibility.
“Bruno Fernandes is a dream for a coach! He needs training to understand the idea of the game and has a high level of execution. Technically he has a vision of the game that I think is of superlative quality and I really like his work. He’s adapted to many positions, he gives structure, he gives balance, he’s a key player for us.”
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