Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes has rejected claims that he criticised coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s tactics after being substituted in his team’s heavy defeat to Tottenham.
Fernandes, who also denied reports he had harsh words with his teammates following the 6-1 loss on Oct. 4, said it was just an attempt by the media to destabilise the team.
“I think there has been a lot of speculation lately about this,” Fernandes, who started in Portugal’s 3-0 win over Sweden, told SportTV.
“First, they [the media] said there was a discussion with the teammates, and as that didn’t sell, it was then with a teammate [Victor Lindelof], and as that didn’t work either, it was with Solskjaer. I believe it’s just a way of destabilising the group a little bit.”
Fernandes, who had given United an early lead from the penalty spot against Spurs, said he was not happy to be replaced at half-time with his team trailing 4-1 and a man down but “accepted” Solskjaer’s decision.
“What was said is in no way true because I was substituted at half-time for tactical reasons,” the Portugal midfielder added.
“When the coach told me that the game was over and that we would have many more [games] ahead, I understood that, of course. I was not satisfied with leaving, but I didn’t speak or say, anything at that moment that could harm the group.
“Even after the game, the coach sent me a message to wish me good luck with the national team. [In the changing room at the end of the game] He asked me and two or three other players if we thought we needed to offer some words of support to the group but, nobody wanted to speak because it wasn’t the best moment.”
United have just three points from their opening three league games.
Fernandes has backed Solskjaer, who is under pressure heading into Saturday’s league game at Newcastle United.
“I just have to be grateful to the coach because he was the one who wanted me, he was the one who believed in me and the tactics he uses are perfect for me,” he said.
“So, don’t use me to make excuses, if someone wants to try to make trouble inside Manchester United, do not use my name or that of my colleagues or the coach. The atmosphere is good, obviously after a defeat we were sad, but we have to give an answer in the next game.”