Benfica boss impressed by Manchester United loanee after 3-0 win

Alvaro Fernandez has struggled to break into the Benfica side after joining the Portuguese giants on loan in January. At the weekend the Manchester United loanee played all 90 minutes for the first time in a 3-0 win over Moirerense.

After making five substitute appearances in the Portuguese league, Fernandez was making his first start. Despite making three substitute appearances and two starts in cup competitions, the full-back has failed to establish himself as a regular member of Roger Schmidt’s squad.

Fernandez completed 90% of his passes, received a yellow card throughout the match, and contributed to maintaining a clean sheet. Also, he assisted Benfica in transition by making three tackles and three clearances.Taking to Instagram after the game, Fernandez posted: “The wait is long but the success is there…”

In a post-match interview with Mais Futebol, Benfica manager Schmidt admitted Fernandez needed game time. He added that he was satisfied with the performance and appeared to rate him as a player.

“It was really good for him to play, he hasn’t played much in the last few weeks because Aursnes has been doing really well in that position, but he’s a very talented player.

“Today we wanted him to play the full 90 minutes and we were very satisfied.”

Benfica need to decide if they want to sign Fernandez permanently at the end of the season.

Given that he participates in more than half of the games, United removed him from Granada due to a requirement spelt out in his loan agreement. It’s obvious that Fernandez hasn’t fulfilled his duty, which raises questions about his future.

Nothing is finalised, but Schmidt stated in his post-match statement that the Portuguese powerhouses will keep the door open for a possible summer transfer.

“The situation is clear, he is on loan and we have the option of keeping him at Benfica, but everything is open.

“We have the option to keep him, let’s see what’s best for him and also for us. Now we are focused on finishing the season, only then we will decide.”

Ten Hag was criticised for not giving Fernandez a chance when United had so many injuries in defence at the start of the season. I wonder if people still feel the same about that as he’s struggled to get into Schmidt’s plans.

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