Soccer-Man Utd boss Ten Hag hails Fernandes, Varane's resilience

Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester United v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - August 14, 2023 Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes with manager Erik ten Hag REUTERS/Dylan Martinez/ File Photo

(Reuters) - Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag criticised Nottingham Forest for targeting Bruno Fernandes in a 1-0 FA Cup victory, while praising the midfielder and defender Raphael Varane for battling through injury to play in the fifth-round tie.

Varane and Fernandes, who were initially doubtful amid injury concerns, played the full 90 minutes in United's win at Forest on Wednesday.

Fernandes, who was on the end of several strong tackles from Forest players and was grabbed by the neck by defender Felipe, set up Casemiro for the 89th-minute winner at the City Ground.

Asked about the Portugal international's fitness, Ten Hag told reporters: "You saw that Forest were targeting him. There were many fouls on him and you see when he is getting the ball, they are really tight on him.

"I was very happy Rapha fought to play this game and also Bruno. He had a very bad injury as well. He fought to be part of this game."

The manager said Fernandes was unfairly criticised on social media for appearing to feign injury in the defeat to Fulham, saying the midfielder was seriously injured.

"He has a serious injury, he continued to play on Saturday and now also he fought to be part of this game. He has a very high pain threshold...," the Dutchman added.

"When you see that maybe they criticise him on social media, it's pathetic. It can't be."

(Reporting by Shifa Jahan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sonali Paul)

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