EPL

Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag demands apology from Fulham over Bruno Fernandes post

By Sports Desk February 29, 2024

Erik ten Hag has called on Fulham to apologise for appearing to mock Bruno Fernandes.

Manchester United boss Ten Hag hit out at criticism implying his captain feigned injury after Wednesday’s FA Cup victory over Nottingham Forest.

Ahead of Sunday’s clash with Manchester City, Ten Hag was asked about a TikTok post from Fulham showing Fernandes going down during last Saturday’s Premier League contest and accompanied by the caption: “So glad he’s ok…”

The Dutchman reacted angrily, saying: “I didn’t know this, but if they did it I would say it is not right. It is absolutely not right that a club makes such a statement, because it is totally out of order and they were wrong so they should apologise for this.”

Ten Hag believes Forest were targeting Fernandes and he added: “He is a very passionate football player and he’s a very creative one, he has created the most chances in the Premier League.

“You see opponents are targeting him and especially after Saturday when he had the knock and they see it, and then I feel the referee should protect him there. They had to change at the start of the game because it was so obvious they were looking for him.”

Ten Hag expects Fernandes and Raphael Varane, who was also a doubt for Wednesday, to be fit for the derby, but the likes of Harry Maguire and Rasmus Hojlund are likely to stay on United’s lengthy injury list.

United go into the clash 15 points behind their neighbours and are currently eight adrift of a Champions League qualifying spot.

City have not lost since early December, winning 16 of their last 18 games, while Ten Hag has been beaten in three of his four games against Pep Guardiola’s men.

Last season’s trip to the Etihad ended in a 6-3 defeat for United, but Ten Hag believes his team can take confidence from their form, saying: “We are also in a good run and the spirit is very good, we are united, we have the togetherness to make a good game plan.

“We have done it before against City, lately also against Liverpool. The players are ready for it, the players are looking forward to it, I can smell it when I am around here, when I speak with the players. We’re excited.

“They have a good team but there are more good teams. They have won in the last season everything so we know that that’s the challenge, but also Liverpool have a very good team and there are more. We like such challenges.”

New investor Sir Jim Ratcliffe stated his aim last week for United to knock City and Liverpool off their perch within three years.

“You always want to play against the best so most of the times we feel and you can also see it that the opposition get their best outputs against Manchester United, and maybe this game is the other way around,” said Ten Hag.

“We know we have to give everything and show really a team performance if you want to get a result. If you do it, it is possible.

“From all the games we look back, we had the opportunity to win and we won one time but you need a great day. That is also what we know so the players have to give the best performances.”

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    Cole Palmer is grateful for the opportunity Chelsea gave him to join the club after he celebrated successive home hat-tricks when he scored four times in the Blues’ 6-0 win over Everton.

    The Manchester City academy graduate, who joined the Blues last summer, scored a spectacular individual goal to open the scoring.

    Palmer scored a header and added a third when he capitalised on a Jordan Pickford error before converting a penalty in the second half. Nicolas Jackson and Alfie Gilchrist also got on the scoresheet as the Toffees came completely unstuck.

    It was Palmer’s second home triple in a row, following his three goals against Manchester United earlier this month.

    Palmer told Chelsea’s official website: “To make the decision to come to Chelsea was a big one for me and my family, but I just wanted to play football. I’m thankful to Chelsea for the opportunity and I’m buzzing.

    “We started well and to score a hat-trick, I’m buzzing. I think the team needed that after last Sunday and some previous games. We did well tonight. It was a great game for the team and me.”

    Palmer showed wonderful skill for his first goal after he jinked past Jarrad Branthwaite, receiving a flick-on from Jackson before he produced a first-time curled effort from outside the box into the bottom left-hand corner.

    The 21-year-old added: “I think my first one was my favourite.

    “My right-footed goal was a bit of a swinger, but my first one was probably my favourite. As an attacker, you always want to help the team with goals and assists, but my main focus was playing well and trying to get into the positions to score goals.”

    Manager Mauricio Pochettino heaped praise on Palmer, who is now joint top in the Premier League’s Golden Boot race with Erling Haaland on 20 goals each.

    He said: “I don’t judge the player when we sign (them) but I expected the best. It doesn’t surprise us, he’s a player who has had the capacity to score goals when he was playing at Manchester City. He has the capacity to score easily.

    “The way he’s adapted, playing and performing is fantastic. He behaves like a top scorer and I think it’s amazing for the team and him.”

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  • Mauricio Pochettino ‘so upset’ over Chelsea penalty bust-up despite huge win Mauricio Pochettino ‘so upset’ over Chelsea penalty bust-up despite huge win

    Cole Palmer’s four-goal haul in Chelsea’s thumping 6-0 win over Everton at Stamford Bridge was overshadowed by what Mauricio Pochettino called “unacceptable” behaviour as two of his players were involved in a physical altercation over who should take a penalty.

    The home side were four goals up in the second half when Nicolas Jackson and Noni Madueke caused the unsavoury scene that left their manager feeling the need to apologise to fans watching the game around the world.

    Palmer, the club’s appointed penalty taker, finally took charge following intervention from the captain Conor Gallagher, recovering his composure to score his fourth of the game and move on to 20 Premier League goals for the season.

    “The players know, the club knows that Palmer is the penalty-taker,” said Pochettino, who was visibly agitated during his post-match duties.

    “I’m so, so upset about the situation. In every country people are watching the game and we cannot send this type of image.

    “I want to apologise to our fans. Discipline is the most important thing for the team. It’s a collective sport. I’m not going to accept this type of behaviour. I’m going to be very strong. I promise it’s not going to happen again.

    “We need to move on and talk about the game – 6-0 against a very good team like Everton, clean sheet, I think we should be happy, no?”

    In a debut season defined by individual excellence, the first half was superb, even by Palmer’s own exceptional standards.

    His first goal alone was worthy of winning a Premier League match, nutmegging Jarrad Branthwaite before playing a neat one-two with Jackson, then curling the ball left-footed beyond the dive of Jordan Pickford.

    His second was a poacher’s finish, reacting quickest to knock in the rebound after Jackson’s effort had been pushed out by the goalkeeper.

    Everton were falling apart, a collapse encapsulated by Pickford’s error, playing the ball straight to Palmer to punt the ball into an empty net from 45 yards.

    Jackson scored Chelsea’s fourth, hooking Marc Cucurella’s cross under control and guiding it home with a swing of the right boot.

    Then came the sight of Jackson and Madueke pushing and shoving over a penalty awarded in the 63rd minute.

    “We don’t talk about punishment,” said Pochettino. “It’s about learning. They are young guys. It was very good the reaction of Gallagher like a captain. But you cannot show that type of behaviour.

    “The discipline is going to be stronger. If they behave like kids, it’s impossible. You cannot behave like kids. It’s a shame, it’s an unacceptable thing. We don’t deserve to be talking about this.”

    At the end of an excellent display, academy graduate Alfie Gilchrist capped things off by firing home his first goal for the club in stoppage time.

    Everton boss Sean Dyche, whose side sit just two points clear of the relegation zone, reflected on a “horrid” night for his team.

    “It’s miles off where we want to be,” he said. “There’s no excuses for that. Miles off the mark, miles from where we’ve been.

    “The goals were alarmingly poor. It’s just simple tackling, reading and anticipating the game. The basics were out the window. A horrid night without a shadow of a doubt.”

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