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Wenger has fresh theory on why Fernandes struggled in Europa League final

Manchester United and Bruno Fernandes fell short in the Europa League final and Arsene Wenger believes the playmaker simply had nothing left in the tank.

So often this season the Portuguese star has stepped up when the Red Devils’ needed him most.

His arrival at Old Trafford coincided with an upturn in form and he has been a leading light at they secured a second place finish.

Fernandes though was unable to lead United to European glory as they were undone on penalties by Villarreal.

The final itself was a low quality affair with the 26-year-old unable to influence proceedings.

Wenger believes the United star has begun declining in the weeks leading up to the final and now faces a race against time to find top gear before Euro 2020.

Bruno Fernandes was not himself in the final

He told Bein Sports : “I personally feel that he finished the season on his knees, and he missed the spark. And sometimes you can see as well, I found him much more nervous in the game.

“So that as well a sign of fatigue. Your top-level is calm, concentration, control. And in the last four or five games, I find him a bit weak on that front. So I hope that he can recover to be efficient for Portugal.”

Fernandes has reacted angrily to being subbed off during the season.

He has been a regular starter such is his quality but United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted this season that his star man needs to take time out.

“I know Bruno wants to play but sometimes you make decisions for the benefit of both the team and him,” he said.

Fernandes is expected to be a leading light for a Portugal side who are bursting with quality.

The defending champions have possibly their greatest squad for decades with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Diogo Jota, Joao Felix, Bernardo Silva and Ruben Diaz in their ranks.

Wenger said: “Portugal at the moment to me looks to be the best equipped [of southern European teams] to be dangerous because they were, they won the European Championship in France.

“They have since made good results in the Nations League, and overall, I would say they have a great offensive potential as well.

“They have Jota who plays now at Liverpool, who is a very convincing player.

“They have fantastic players. They have Neto. They’re spoiled for choice as well. Portugal produces players.”

Portugal though find themselves in the group of death alongside France, Germany and Hungary.




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