Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has backed Bruno Fernandes after a series on incidents at the weekend. The club’s vice captain has been criticized for an apparent bad attitude following their demoralizing 7-0 defeat at the hands of Liverpool on Sunday.

Player had a series of odd incidents during defeat

Fernandes shoved an assistant referee in the late stages of the game at Anfield. Liverpool fullback Trent Alexander-Arnold frustrated the Portugal international by holding onto the ball to prevent a quick restart for United. As the referee’s assistant attempted to calm the situation, Fernandes pushed the official in the back. The 28-year-old playmaker will avoid Premier League punishment for the incident.

Rumors circulated over Fernandes asking for a substitution while losing by such a wide margin. However, BBC is reporting that the player was merely asking ten Hag for clarification on his positioning. The Portuguese midfielder was the subject of ridicule for embellishing contact to the face by a Liverpool player as well.

Ten Hag, Rashford back Fernandes

Despite the controversy, United’s manager is backing Fernandes and will not strip his captaincy. “He is playing a brilliant season,” ten Hag said during a press conference on Wednesday. “He has played a big role in us being where we are. Everyone makes mistakes and we learn. I have to learn and he will as well. He is intelligent. I’m really pleased he is our player and he is captain when Harry (Maguire) is not playing.”

Along with the manager, star forward Marcus Rashford has also defended his teammate as well. “I love playing with Bruno,” claimed Rashford during the press conference. “I don’t have anything negative to say.”

“Nobody is perfect. Sometimes you want to win so bad you end up doing things a little out of character. But I 100% support Bruno and am behind him. As a team we have to support him because he’s a fantastic player. We wouldn’t be in the position we are in if he wasn’t playing games for us.”

Fernandes and United will attempt to get back on track on Thursday, as the Red Devils face Real Betis in a Europa League round of 16 matchup.