Manchester United beat Everton 3-0 on Sunday to continue our run of great form with a wonder goal from Garnacho, a penalty from Rashford and a dinked finish from Martial.
Bruno Fernandes is usually the penalty taker but he could see Marcus Rashford needed his first league goal for a while so put the time ahead of personal glory and let his teammate take the spot kick.
Speaking to the press ahead of Wednesday night’s game against Galatasaray, Bruno talked about his thinking behind the decision.
No, it was in the moment. I talk about this already. I thought that Marcus needed his first goal, he is such an important player for us and he hadn’t scored in the Premier League [since September]. Last season he was our top scorer, so we know that he’s important for us, he’s someone that can score a lot of goals. And I think for strikers and wingers sometimes it’s about getting his first goal and after that they’re going to get on the straight to score more and more goals. And we need our strikers and our wingers to be in the positions to score goals and to have the confidence to score them.
We have a list of penalty takers, and their number in the order of penalty takers – who is going to be the first, second or third. First being myself because in the past few years it has always been me. But when I arrived at the club, Marcus was the penalty taker. He was injured when I arrived so I started taking penalties. He was always respectful on the side, saying ‘you’re doing it now, you’re doing it well, so keep going.’ At moments he had his moment to take the penalty and sometimes we’ve had moments to give the ball to each other. I think it’s not important who takes it, because I think the manager puts a paper out there with the penalty takers and the two names for that game was me and Marcus. So, it’s just about deciding who’s going to take that. It doesn’t have to be always Bruno. It doesn’t have to be always Marcus. But it has to be someone where we are 100 per cent sure that the ball is going to go in. We are never 100 per cent sure because it’s 50/50 every time. I could have taken the penalty and missed and we will never know. But the thing is that Marcus took it and he scored.
At times, the decision to replace Harry Maguire with Fernandes has been criticised by the media and fans, which Fernandes reacted to this afternoon.
Obviously you don’t like it. You don’t like to be criticised. I think everyone is the same. But at the same time, I have to do the best, or what I think is the best, for the team. I’m not always right, but in my head at the moment, it is the right choice so I do it. So, I think it’s quite normal when you play for Man United that you’re going to be criticised even if you do well or bad, if you do the right thing or the wrong thing. So I just have to deal with that. It’s kind of normal since I arrived at the club. In the beginning everything was perfect because when you arrive and in the first game, if you do something different to anyone else is doing, it’s going to be all flowers. But after that, I understand that it’s going to be [tough], the tough part is always coming after the first games, because when the results not coming, when the performances are not as everyone expected to be, and because the expectations are always higher and higher. And I know that since I arrived at the club obviously, my numbers made myself a target. So not keeping the same numbers of assists or goals is sometimes a problem for me in the criticism because they’re going to take from there. Now it’s the captaincy but you know it’s going to be always something. But my focus is on the team, on the staff, on everyone that works here with me day by day. I think they are pretty happy with me. The way I am, it’s the same since I arrived at the club. It’s not changed by being the captain. I don’t think it has to change. I’m really open with everyone so no one until now has had a problem with me. So I think I should keep it like that. Everyone here is pretty happy with my leadership, so I think I have to keep the same way.