‘Malacia was angry with me and didn’t understand… Maguire shouted “hold the ball” and I said “don’t shout!”‘: Bruno Fernandes explains his on-field rows with his Man United team-mates – but insists he’s not an arm-waver!
- Bruno Fernandes was criticised for his negative body language last season
- It came as Man United struggled under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick
- But the Portuguese star insists he was never negative towards his team-mates
- He has explained how he told Tyrell Malacia to spread the play at Leicester
- And he apologised to Harry Maguire after telling him not to yell at him
Bruno Fernandes has explained his heated on-field arguments with Harry Maguire and Tyrell Malacia while insisting his body language is never negative on the pitch.
The Portuguese star often cut a sulky figure during Manchester United’s thoroughly underwhelming 2021-22 season, which saw Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sacked and the team drift under interim manager Ralf Rangnick.
But Fernandes, who has returned to something approaching his best form under Erik ten Hag this term, says this was never the case.
Bruno Fernandes has spoken out about perceptions he showed negative body language
Fernandes passes on instructions to United new boy Tyrell Malacia in the Leicester game
He told The Athletic: ‘The thing people say about how I wave my arms at my team-mates. That has never happened. That is completely a lie.
‘I can be using my arms to ask for the ball and to tell them something about where to move the ball. But never do I talk to them in a bad way.
‘Yes, I can shout at someone if they do not pass the ball when he has to do it, or if he does not take the decision in the best way, or if he goes two-v-one and does not pass the ball to his team-mate. Then it is normal to be angry with him.’
Fernandes cited two examples of heated conversations during United games. One was with left-back Tyrell Malacia, a summer arrival at Old Trafford, during the 1-0 win at Leicester earlier this month.
The playmaker told Malacia to get his head up and scan for passing options because he was in free space on the opposite side of the pitch.
The Portuguese playmaker has started to rediscover some of his best form this season
‘He was quite angry with me because I was talking to him. But he didn’t understand what I was saying,’ Fernandes said.
Fernandes went over to Malacia at the end of the game to reassure him he wasn’t shouting ‘in a bad way’ merely asking him to switch the play.
Another occasion was during the 2019-20 UEFA Europa League quarter-final against Copenhagen, when Maguire yelled at Fernandes for losing the ball when he tried to take on an opponent instead of clearing the ball.
‘I lost the ball and he shouted at me, “Bruno, hold the ball!”. I was tired and said, ‘Don’t shout!’ Fernandes recalled.
‘In the first-half of extra time, I went up to him and said “sorry for talking back”.’
It came after a torrid 2020-21 campaign in which United struggled under several managers