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Ten Hag endorses Fernandes as captain. after a 7-0 win

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag launched a strong defense of Bruno Fernandes after his team’s 7-0 win against Liverpool, he said that the Portuguese midfielder will continue to be one of his captains at Old Trafford.

Fernandes, 28, has been heavily criticized for his performance at Anfield and has faced calls to have his armband removed. Sky Sports pundit and former United defender Gary Neville called Fernandes “a disgrace” but Ten Hag supports him.

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“I think he’s having a brilliant season and he’s played a big part in getting us to where we are,” Ten Hag said at a news conference on Wednesday. “He is an inspiration to the team, we all make mistakes and we all learn. I have to learn and so does he.”

“He is intelligent. I am very happy that he is our player and he is the captain when Harry (Maguire) he’s not playing.”

Asked if Fernandes would remain captain in the future, Ten Hag said: “Yes, definitely.”

Ten Hag spoke ahead of United’s Europa League round of 16 first leg against Real Betis at Old Trafford on Thursday. The Dutchman was accompanied at the press conference by Mark Rashfordwho rejected claims that United “gave up” during the second half in which they conceded six goals.

“We didn’t give up, that’s nonsense,” Rashford said. “We were disorganized, communication was bad, that’s why we conceded the goals.

“But I think everyone was trying to get back in the game so much, we got too far away from early on, the forwards were trying to press as a unit but we weren’t connected with the midfield.

“We were trying to control the game at 2-0 and 3-0, we were talking but we didn’t agree on what to do, it happened, we can learn from it and move on. I’m happy and grateful we have another quick game because we have the opportunity to take a step forward.”

Can Ten Hag succeed where Solskjaer failed with a Man Utd rebuild?

The defeat was United’s second in all competitions since the World Cup break. Ten Hag’s side face Betis on Thursday, followed by a Premier League clash with Southampton on Sunday, and he has urged his players to recover quickly.

“We know that in a season there will always be setbacks,” added Ten Hag. “The way he went there has a lot of lessons and that can help us for the future, that’s the positive, the negative that is, we were really below average, especially mentally.

“We have to take the lesson. After Sunday we got a big lesson, we take it and we know we have to keep going and look ahead. That’s the way we treat it, all the energy, all the focus has to be on the next game.”