Bruno Fernandes has urged Edinson Cavani and Paul Pogba to stay on at Manchester United beyond the summer and says the squad’s sole ‘focus is on playing football’ amid growing hostility towards the club’s current owners.
United’s Premier League clash with Liverpool had to be postponed after a group of around 200 enraged supporters broke into Old Trafford to protest against the Glazer family.
The episode has overshadowed the Red Devils’ preparation for their Europa League semi-final second leg away to Roma and was unsurprisingly the major talking point of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s pre-match press conference on Wednesday afternoon.
And after the United head coach revealed that he had received a personal apology from the Glazers for their involvement in the failed European Super League, Fernandes recounted his reaction to Sunday’s dramatic events.
‘Of course for us it was hard because we want to play football, this is what it’s about for us,’ the United attacking midfielder told reporters ahead of tomorrow evening’s second leg at the Stadio Olimpico.
‘We prepare well for a big game and of course a chance to play this kind of game is always good and the feeling was good between us because we felt the team was ready to play. It was a good week for us, we played really well against Roma before and the confidence was high.
‘But this happens, we have nothing to say about that. The fans have their own word and they think that was the best for them, they did and we have nothing to say about that.
‘Honestly, our focus is on playing football and doing the best for the club.’
Asked whether he was tempted to speak to the fans, Fernandes added: ‘I was in my room watching football because Udinese were playing Juventus.
‘I never tried to come outside, nobody tried to come outside.
‘We just do what the security said to us: keep in our rooms and stay there which is what the players did. If someone tried to come out it was not me.
‘I didn’t see anyone trying to come out, honestly, but if they did it was not me.’
Cavani and Pogba were both on the scoresheet as United stormed to a 6-2 lead over Roma in last week’s first leg but both players continue to be the subject of transfer speculation ahead of this summer’s window.
‘We know they are really important for us,’ Fernandes said when pressed on how much he wants the duo to remain at United.
‘The qualities they have are difficult to find on the market for a good price.
‘So I think everyone knows the team is growing up so it’s important we keep our best players and we keep improving the team.’
Fernandes believes winning this year’s Europa League would be a clear ‘sign of improvement’ after a trophyless season for United last term.
‘For us it’s a sign of improvement if we win the Europa League because last season we didn’t win anything,’ the Portugal international went on.
‘If we win a trophy this season it’s improvement, still not enough for us, but it’s something growing up from the club, from the players.
‘It’s a sign that we are doing a little bit better but we still have a lot to improve and we will improve.’
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