Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has admitted to overplaying star man Bruno Fernandes last season, citing his importance to the team.
Manchester United had a long season last term, finishing second in the league while also reaching the Europa League Final; they managed only to be second best on both fronts. Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants his team to take their game to the next level and win titles.
However, during last seasons’ excursions, one player the manager always turned to for games was Bruno Fernandes. The attacking midfielder finished with 28 goals and 18 assists in all competitions while playing a massive 51 games for the club during the campaign.
It’s not a small number considering he was a regular for Portugal during the international breaks as well as the Euros during the summer. Fernandes has proven to be Manchester United’s talisman since signing from Sporting Lisbon in January 2020. However, the manager admitted to overplaying him and might not repeat the trick.
Solskjaer’s admission could swing in more game time for the likes of Anthony Martial, who returned from injury, along with Jesse Lingard, who had a brilliant loan spell away at West Ham. The signing of Jadon Sancho will also help Fernandes get some rest at times, while Donny van de Beek also remains in the manager’s plans.
Fernandes recently admitted to being impressed by Van de Beek’s work in the gym after the Dutchman was pictured to have put on some muscles during the off-season. Solksjaer admitted the same and praised the midfielder’s integration into the side, so it seems he might play a lot more than last season.
However, on the subject of overplaying Fernandes, Solskjaer said a few words to ESPN. The Mirror published some of those quotes, as the Norwegian manager discussed certain things about his players ahead of the new season.
Solskjaer said: “Bruno last year… maybe I overplayed him, but it was because he was so important for us. Adding these extra players – Jesse coming back, Jadon coming in, Anthony being fit again – gives us a lot more to work with.
Solskjaer reiterated Bruno’s praise about Van de Beek in recent days and said: “He’s (Van de Beek’s) put on a bit of muscle, yeah. He had last season to learn about English football, and he’s used the summer well. You never know how players from abroad [are going to] come in – some players need a year.”
He finished off with his players’ expectations, especially knowing they play for this great club. “If you don’t enjoy being a Manchester United player, you can play somewhere mid-table We’ve gone from third to second [in the Premier League] and a lot closer in points, we’ve gone from three semi-finals to a final and one kick away from winning, so it’s about taking the next step now. That’s the challenge,” he added.