Manchester United’s star attacking midfielder, Bruno Fernandes, is expected to miss the Reds’ trip back to London on Thursday for a Premier League fixture against Tottenham Hotspurs.
The Portuguese maestro limped off of the Wembley pitch in the 101st minute on Sunday in the FA Cup Semi-final victory against Brighton & Hove Albion. It seemed a head scratching move to withdraw the engine of United’s attack, and best penalty taker, but onlookers quickly realized that something was up.
When cameras were back on Bruno ahead of the shootout, he could be seen with his ankle wrapped up as he was giving the team a pep talk. While the leadership was nice to see, the cost of an extra time, high-intensity game was taking its toll with over a month of the season still to play.
Bruno Fernandes has missed two matches through suspension this season, both were losses. The first match was a 3-1 loss to Unai Emery’s Aston Villa and the other the 3-0 defeat at Sevilla last week in the UEFA Europa League. The only other game he didn’t start was a 3-0 win over Charlton Athletic
The biggest worry without Bruno Fernandes is that a repeat of the Sevilla disaster is on the cards against a top 4 rival, but a bigger worry would be an extended absence.
Bruno would be seen later with a walking boot, and it appears that his ankle injury may keep him sidelined for a couple games. The Guardian’s Jamie Jackson reported that the walking boot is a “precaution,” indicating it’s not too serious, but United fans will be concerned nonetheless given the team’s heavy reliance on number 8.
Bruno Fernandes’ wife via Instagram: pic.twitter.com/Nv1cqdU3xq— centredevils. (@centredevils) April 24, 2023
Fortunately for the Reds, Tottenham, are currently in terrible form, and are now on their third manager of the season. There is the potential for an interim-manager bounce with Ryan Mason in charge until the end of the season, but the onus still on the Reds (because Tottenham are an “ok, beat us” team).
Perhaps Jadon Sancho can try out the no. 10 role again, or perhaps Marcel Sabitzer can play in a forward role again. Or maybe Erik ten Hag will play without an advanced midfielder. Either way it’s pretty close to a must-win, and United can’t buckle like last week again.