Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Ten Hag unconcerned by Fernandes´ fitness ahead of Man Utd´s trip to Brighton

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 17 May 2024

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Erik ten Hag is not worried about Bruno Fernandes’ fitness ahead of Manchester United’s final game of the Premier League season.

Fernandes impressed in an attacking midfield role in United’s 3-2 win over Newcastle on Wednesday.

The Portugal international was forced off through injury late on, yet Ten Hag is not overly concerned.

“Bruno didn’t miss so much and he’s fit,” Ten Hag told United’s media channels.

“I would say that is one of my least concerns, if he can keep going. He’s fresh and he’s in very good form but the others you mentioned, it’s important [to get game time].

“They missed some games. [Marcus] Rashford, of course. [Lisandro] Martinez missed, I would say, almost the whole season. So every minute that he can get, we have to give him.”

Should United win, and Newcastle fail to beat Brentford, then the Red Devils will be guaranteed European football next season, even if they lose the FA Cup final when they face Manchester City at Wembley on May 25.

Ten Hag’s future is uncertain, but Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi pointed to United’s injury issues as a main factor in their frustrating campaign.

“They have suffered a lot of injuries, problems, but they are still a very good team,” he said.

“Ten Hag’s Ajax team has been one of the best in quality of play. For United, this season, it’s been tough playing without a lot of important players.”

Brighton are entrenched in mid-table after failing to match the same heights they managed last season.

However, two of their players – Pascal Gross and striker Denis Undav, who is on loan at Stuttgart – were on Thursday called up for Germany’s Euro 2024 squad.

De Zerbi said: “I am happy for Undav. He is becoming a great player. Pascal is not a surprise – he deserves to play for the national team.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Brighton – James Milner

James Milner has appeared in the final game in 16 different Premier League campaigns – if he plays in this match, he’ll be the first player in the competition’s history to do so in 17 different seasons.

Manchester United – Bruno Fernandes

Fernandes has created 113 chances in the Premier League this season, 14 more than any other player. He also created the most chances last season (119) and is the first player to do so in back-to-back seasons since Eden Hazard in 2013-14 (93) and 2014-15 (100).

MATCH PREDICTION: DRAW

In their first 19 Premier League matches this season, Brighton were the fifth-highest scorers in the Premier League (38 goals) and had a conversion rate of 13.3 per cent. In their last 18 games since the turn of the year, only Everton (15) have scored fewer goals than the Seagulls (17), with their conversion rate of 6.6 per cent the worst of any side in this time.

United have lost their final league game in two of the last five seasons (W3), as many times as they had in the previous 33 campaigns (W23 D8).

Brighton have lost their final game in four of their six Premier League campaigns, with the exceptions being a 2-1 win at Burnley (2019-20) and a 3-1 home win v West Ham (2021-22).

Brighton have won each of their last four Premier League games against United – the last side to beat the Red Devils in five consecutive league games was Norwich City between 1988 and 1990.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Brighton – 35.4%

Man Utd – 35.9%

Draw – 28.7%

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

SoccerNews

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