Bruno Fernandes says Erik ten Hag has installed much needed discipline into Manchester United, with the midfielder believing it is “amazing” the new manager fines players for being late.
Fernandes’s comments suggest rules were lax under one or both of his previous United managers – Ole Gunnar Solskjær and Ralf Rangnick.
He said: “We missed that for a while and discipline is important. Discipline is not only the way you play, the position that you have, what you have to do, it’s also off the pitch. Don’t be late for the meetings, don’t be late for the meals. That’s really important because if everyone is on time and someone comes late, he should be punished.
“That’s really good that he’s doing that and amazing, because I like to be on time, so I won’t have problems with that.”
Fernandes was speaking on the club tour of Thailand and Australia, which Cristiano Ronaldo is not on because of a family issue. Ronaldo wishes to leave United. “I don’t want to be involved in that,” said Fernandes, also a Portugal international. “Obviously we have to respect the decision of everyone. I don’t know what Cristiano said to the club, to the manager, but we have to respect his space.”
How important is it to keep hold of him? “I don’t know,” Fernandes said. “Cristiano was our top scorer last season, he added goals, but it’s not on me, it’s the club that has to make the choices and Cristiano makes his own. I don’t know what’s going on in his head, if he wants to leave.
“The only thing I asked Cristiano, when he didn’t turn up, was if everything was OK with the family. He told me what was going on, that’s it and nothing more.”
Fernandes was nonplussed when asked whether Ten Hag’s possession-based style meant he would have to adjust his game.
“What do you mean ‘tweak’?” he said. “He wants me to do assists anyway, so I have to try it. I don’t understand that type of question of keeping the ball or whatever it is. I keep the ball when I think I have to keep it, I try a pass when I think I have to do it and sometimes it goes good, sometimes wrong.
“When it goes wrong, I know that shouldn’t be the one, but sometimes when you play in the 10 position you have only a few seconds to think and control the ball and make the pass.
“I understand that someone has his own opinion, but when I arrived in 2020 I was losing the same amount of balls in those six months and the year after I lost the same amount of balls, but I scored 28 goals, so people don’t complain.
“Last season, because I scored only 10, people start complaining, but I’m OK with that. I do my best. I always try to help my teammates. Obviously I will have to do what the coach demands from me.”
Fernandes is looking forward to dovetailing with Christian Eriksen, who has joined on a free transfer. “I always learn from players who play similar positions as me,” he said. “Christian has been an amazing player in the past and last season when he played for Brentford.”