Jose Mourinho has noticed that Manchester United superstar Bruno Fernandes was not really ‘there’ for Portugal in their first two Euros group clashes, but has told talkSPORT that he’s rooting for the ace.
Mourinho, who managed United for two-and-a-half years until December 2018, told presenter Laura Woods ‘I hope he turns up against France’, as Portugal prepare for their massive final group stage tie.
The 58-year-old, who was sacked by Spurs a couple of months ago but agreed a new job with Roma just two weeks after, admitted that Fernandes ‘has a lot to give’ to the national team.
Fernandes started the clashes against Hungary and Germany but has so far failed to reward Fernando Santos for the faith shown as the Man United man has struggled to make an impact in the Euros so far.
The playmaker was practically on the pitch for the entirety of the opener against Hungary, being replaced in the 89th minute before he was hooked off in the 64th minute of the 4-2 defeat to Germany.
“I hope he turns up against France.”
“He has a lot to give, but the reality is that in these two matches, he was not there.”
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) June 22, 2021
Here is what Mourinho had to say on the attacking midfielder:
“I hope he turns up against France, because he’s a player with incredible potential, he can pass, he can score, he can get penalties, he can score penalties, he can score free-kicks – he has a lot to give.”
“But, the reality is that in these two matches he was not there and Portugal has three fantastic attacking players Bernardo Silva, Cristiano Ronaldo, Diogo Jota – they are three very good players, we need that connection, and until now Bruno he’s not playing.”
“But the reality, I told you when I went to the building for the first time and we spoke for the first time about the Euros, I told you immediately that I believe Portugal can win the Euros – but I also believe that Portugal can be out in the group phase.”
“I knew that it was always going to be difficult. In this moment, I don’t think they’re going to be out, when I look to the maths. I think that even with three points, because of the positive goal average (difference) if we don’t lose against France by more than one goal we will always qualify.”
“So, I’m a bit relaxed about it.”
Mourinho noted that the ‘connection’ between Fernandes and world-class attackers like Cristiano Ronaldo, Bernardo Silva and Diogo Jota is not quite there, something that needs to change ASAP.
It’s great to see that Mourinho actually remained supportive of Fernandes, whilst staying honest in refusing to ignore the lacklustre displays, he could’ve easily just aimed digs at the playmaker.
It’s especially nice to see considering that the pair have had a few run-ins in the past, with Mourinho jawing with Fernandes in-game as well as never missing a chance to mention Bruno’s penalties.