Bruno Fernandes reckons Harry Maguire can put his nightmare week behind him and help lead Manchester United to a bright future.
Maguire headed home against Newcastle on Saturday to cancel out a Luke Shaw own goal – ultimately inspiring his team to victory as they saw off Steve Bruce’s side 4-1.
Fernandes, Aaron-Wan Bissaka and Marcus Rashford all scored late on to secure the three points at St James’ Park.
But it was Maguire who started the ball rolling, repaying the faith of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after the manager ignored calls to drop his skipper following his red card on international duty last week.
The defender was dismissed 31 minutes into England’s Nations League game against Denmark, after he picked up two bookings for clumsy fouls.
That followed a sub-par performance in United’s 6-1 thrashing at the hands of Tottenham in their last premier League outing before the international break.
There was talk that Maguire’s confidence had been affected by his ongoing legal battle, with the 27-year-old awaiting a retrial after appealed against his conviction for aggravated assault, resisting arrest and bribery following an incident in Mykonos over the summer.
But Fernandes was impressed with the way the centre-half handled the pressure in a victory which he said was “fantastic”.
“We played really well today,” Fernandes said, speaking to Match of the Day . “The game was fantastic for us.
“Newcastle have a really good team, they play well and have good players but I think we deserved the win today.”
Of Maguire, he said: “He is a big man. He is playing for the national team and Manchester United.
“It is of course difficult for every player being under fire but he did what he had to do on the pitch. He scored. We can push him and he can push us.”
While Fernandes scored late in the game to swing the result in his side’s favour, he had earlier missed a chance from 12 yards as his penalty was saved by Newcastle Karl Darlow.
It as the first time the Portugal midfielder had missed from the spot in 11 successful attempts in the Premier League – and only the third time he had been denied in 33 attempts in total during his career.
On changing his technique for the penalty, Fernandes said: “I already change sometimes. Today it doesn’t work.
“I need to do what is better for the game, today was not the right choice but doesn’t matter, miss the penalty I have to keep improving in the next games.”