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.
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.
‘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.’