Fernandes defends ‘Big Six’ record with Man Utd v Spurs penalty claim

United have failed to beat any of England’s so-called ‘Big Six’ rivals of Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and Liverpool.

Fernandes has struggled in those games, which his only goal being a penalty in the 6-1 home loss to Tottenham.

But the Portugal international has questioned the ring-fencing of the teams and relevant statistics, pointing to his record against the current top six.

“I don’t know what people mean by ‘top six’, because the teams are in top six in the table,” he told Sky Sports. “I score and assist against some of them. I score this season against Tottenham. But some people say penalties don’t count!

“I know people expect Bruno to score or assist in every game because when I arrived, I was playing really well. If you see my stats, everyone is thinking that Bruno has to score in every game, Bruno has to assist in every game.

“And I want to do that – it’s the most important thing. But as a player, I don’t look for the big six or the rest of the league. I look for every game in the same way. And I think the league is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.

“So you don’t have to score or win against the big six – you have to score and win against everyone.

“I see people talking about Bruno not doing so well against the ‘big six.’ People have said Bruno gives the ball away too many times when we lose a game.

“Also, in the game against [Istanbul] Basaksehir, I scored two goals and I lost more balls than their team, but people said I was the best player in the game. So, what is the point?”

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Fernandes believes fans and the like are more interested in stats than the actual performance of a player or team.

He added: “I saw an interview from Luke [Shaw] saying, ‘people now care more about stats than the performance.’ And this is the truth. Because now they’re expecting from me just goals and assists, and not performances.

“They don’t care about the performance of Bruno, they don’t care about ball recovery or how many chances I create, because I can create 10 chances but if I don’t score, people will say Bruno didn’t play very well.

“But this is football. Football is in the moment. Some people have said I’m playing bad, and that I have to do better. And I agree, because we always can do better. But for me, it’s OK. I can have that pressure on my back.”

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