Fernandes says Man United were haunted 'by ghosts from the past'

Bruno Fernandes admits Man United were haunted by ‘ghosts from the past’ during Brighton loss and Brentford thrashing but Erik ten Hag has restored discipline and confidence after the team drifted under Solskjaer and Rangnick

  • Manchester United lost to Brighton and Brentford in their opening two games
  • 4-0 loss to the Bees represented a fresh new low for a team drifting along
  • But Erik ten Hag’s side have fought back with four consecutive league wins
  • Bruno Fernandes said the defeats brought back chilling memories of last year
  • Ole Gunnar Solskjaer stumbled and Ralf Rangnick’s interim tenure was poor
  • But he believes Ten Hag’s ideas and no-nonsense approach will revive United 

Bruno Fernandes has admitted he felt the ‘ghosts from the past’ haunting Manchester United when they crashed to defeat in their first two games of the season – but believes Erik ten Hag has given them an identity and belief.

They lost 2-1 at home to Brighton on the opening weekend of the campaign before going down to a shocking 4-0 defeat at Brentford, erasing the positivity of pre-season.

United endured a calamitous afternoon at the Gtech Community Stadium in their second Premier League game of the campaign, conceding four goals in a 25-minute spell during the first-half to leave them bottom of the table.

Bruno Fernandes has admitted he felt haunted by ‘ghosts from the past’ when Manchester United lost their first two matches of the Premier League season

United were especially atrocious as they were thrashed 4-0 by Brentford in their second game

The Portuguese star said the performance reminded him of the dark days towards the end of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s tenure, which was followed by the absent-minded drift of Ralf Rangnick’s interim spell.

But United have recovered strongly since that nadir, winning their next four Premier League matches, with Liverpool and Arsenal among those defeated.

Fernandes told The Athletic: ‘You can feel it between us, between the fans, in the atmosphere, that is was like getting back to the past.

‘Everyone felt the confidence was low again. Everyone was a little – not afraid – but not feeling the best to take the ball. I felt sometimes like it was the ghosts from the past.

‘Then Brentford was even worse. We conceded a goal from nothing and all of a sudden you could see the energy of the team was low, the confidence was low.’

Fernandes felt the defeats were an echo of the final weeks of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reign

The club drifted even further under interim boss Ralf Rangnick, eventually finishing in sixth

Fernandes describes Rangnick as a ‘good manager with good ideas’ but admits his pressing game ‘did not fit with everyone’.

He adds: ‘There was an atmosphere between everyone where the confidence was low and everything was really down.’ 

However, the Ten Hag era really started with a battling 2-1 win over Liverpool and they have since beaten Southampton, Leicester and Arsenal to raise hopes of a top four finish.

Fernandes credits the Dutch manager with restoring confidence to United after a turbulent year.

Erik ten Hag has restored a sense of identity and discipline to Manchester United this season

Fernandes himself has rediscovered some of his peak form as United recovered from those two opening losses to win four league matches in a row

‘First of all, he has an idea. He has a style. You have to follow his rules. He is strict on that and I like that,’ Fernandes said.

‘He has brought discipline, which is something I think we missed in the past. Everyone must be on the same page.

‘That is what Pep [Guardiola] and [Jurgen] Klopp have been doing for years, because they have stability in the club and in the way they choose the transfer market and build the team, which is really important for them to get the rewards.’

United return to action with a derby visit to Manchester City following the international break.

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