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Bruno Fernandes reveals Alejandro Garnacho’s early season struggles were down to attitude

Bruno Fernandes reveals Alejandro Garnacho’s early season struggles were down to attitude

Bruno Fernandes has revealed Alejandro Garnacho’s poor attitude on Manchester United‘s pre-season tour was behind his early season struggles under Erik ten Hag. 

The Argentine starlet backed up his strong showing against Sheriff Tiraspol last week with another impressive performance, marking it with his first goal for the club in a 1-0 win over Real Sociedad. 

Despite his strong showing, where United extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to nine games, Ten Hag‘s side could not grab the second goal they needed to avoid the competition’s play-off round with those who have dropped down from the Champions League

Alejandro Garnacho scored his first goal for Manchester United as they narrowly missed out on top spot despite winning at Real Sociedad

Alejandro Garnacho scored his first goal for Manchester United as they narrowly missed out on top spot despite winning at Real Sociedad

Bruno Fernandes revealed that Garnacho's application in pre-season hadn't been all there

Bruno Fernandes revealed that Garnacho’s application in pre-season hadn’t been all there

It left Garnacho as the big talking point fo United and speaking after the game, Fernandes expressed his relief that Garnacho was finally applying himself in the correct manner after a below-par summer. 

‘He was good but he knows we expect at lot from him. He’s still really young. He’s doing really well,’ he told BT Sport.

‘At the beginning of the season, not at his best, in the tour he didn’t have the best attitude that he should have and that’s why he didn’t get his chances until now. 

‘Now he’s getting chances because he’s training better, he’s having a better attitude and he deserves his chances.’

The Argentine teenage sensation was part of Manchester United's squad for their extensive tour to the Far East and Australia but his attitude was questioned by team-mates and coaches

The Argentine teenage sensation was part of Manchester United’s squad for their extensive tour to the Far East and Australia but his attitude was questioned by team-mates and coaches

Fernandes was also called for media duties by in-house TV channel MUTV and he elected to double down on his claims of attitude problems holding Garnacho back.

‘He didn’t get his chances before because he was not good enough in training and not good enough mentality-wise,’ Fernandes said of the teenager.

‘He’s changed that, that’s why he’s getting chances. Everyone is really happy for him and pleased with his goal.’

Paul Scholes, on punditry duty for BT Sport, speculated after the game that those attitude problems Fernandes speaks of could have stemmed from the young Argentine getting ‘too big for his boots’ after being called up to the national squad.   

‘He said that was pre-season, didn’t he, so he was obviously a little bit big for his boots in the summer,’ Scholes said.

‘I think he went away with Argentina, maybe playing with [Lionel] Messi, he came back and thought this is me, I’m part of this team.

Garnacho impressed thoroughly for Manchester United as they came to close to achieving the 2-0 win required to take them to the top spot of the group

Garnacho impressed thoroughly for Manchester United as they came to close to achieving the 2-0 win required to take them to the top spot of the group 

‘He’s a young lad, he’s going to learn. His attitude has changed and we’re seeing the benefits of that, now he looks a really top class young player.’

Garnacho has bags of talent and his first senior goal for United has taken him past George Best as the club’s youngest non-English goalscorer in major European competition.

But much of his burgeoning success will be taken away if concerns over his attitude continue. 

The Athletic reported earlier this week that a strict Ten Hag was left unimpressed with Garnacho when he ‘walking out of training with his laces untied’, a sign to coaches of his ‘lax’ attitude.

‘I was not happy with him (in the early weeks of the season),’ Ten Hag said of Garnacho after the Sheriff match. 

‘The last weeks I was happy with him, a better attitude, more resilience.’

One reported story of the summer was that Garnacho is alleged to have left training with his laces untied, something which left manager Erik ten Hag (middle) deeply unimpressed

One reported story of the summer was that Garnacho is alleged to have left training with his laces untied, something which left manager Erik ten Hag (middle) deeply unimpressed

Meanwhile, Fernandes said that there were still a few positives to take from San Sebastian despite being disappointed not to finish ahead of Real Sociedad atop the group.

‘Obviously our goal today was to win by two goals, we knew that we needed that. We played a great game, we tried everything,’ he said.

‘At the end we took a few more risks, to score the second goal but we won the game. It’s a great win against a tough opponent – as I said, it’s not brought us to the top of the group, which was our goal before the game, but it’s always a win.’

Fernandes was deployed on the right-hand side by manager Ten Hag in a tactical move questioned by Scholes and he was later reticent to admit that it is a position which he is comfortable with. 

‘I play wherever the coach needs me to play. I try the best to help the team, it’s not my position,’ he added. 

United will be drawn against one of Barcelona, Sevilla, Juventus, Ajax, Bayer Leverkusen, Sporting Lisbon, Red Bull Salzburg or Shakhtar Donetsk in Monday’s draw. 

Fernandes (left) was deployed in a rare right-sided role but he didn't say if he felt comfortable

Fernandes (left) was deployed in a rare right-sided role but he didn’t say if he felt comfortable

EUROPA LEAGUE PLAY-OFF TEAMS 

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE DROP-OUTS

Barcelona

Juventus

Ajax

Bayer Leverkusen

Red Bull Salzburg

Sevilla

Shakhtar Donetsk

Sporting Lisbon 

GROUP STAGE RUNNERS’ UP

Manchester United

PSV

Roma 

Rennes 

Union Berlin

Midtjylland

Nantes

Monaco 

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