EUROPEAN FOOTBALL

Benfica manager gives verdict on Man United loanee Alvaro Fernandez

Manchester United

Man United loanee Alvaro Fernandez made his debut for Benfica last night.

The Spanish defender, Alvaro Fernandez is on his second loan of the season. Man United moved him from Granada to Benfica. There has been some frustration among Man United fans that Fernandez not entrusted to back-up Luke Shaw this season, with Tyrell Malacia out injured.

This loan at Portuguese league leaders, Benfica is the perfect opportunity for him to show his quality.

Alvaro Fernandez makes his debut for Benfica

Alvaro Fernandez made two substitute appearances during his opening two weeks at Benfica. Earlier this week, manager Roger Schmidt praised his training performances. Schmidt added that he has been considering giving Fernandez a chance as a starter. Fernandez was selected as part of Benfica’s starting XI in their Portuguese Cup quarter-final at Vizela.

However, Benfica won the game 2-1, with goals from Arthur Cabral and Joao Mario. Fernandez played 70 minutes, with his side leading at the time. Fernandez was very involved, making 60 touches in total, most of which came in the opposition half. He completed 91% of his passes, 39 of 43 attempted in total.

He did his work defensively, making four clearances, winning three duels. Although, he gave away three free-kicks and ended up being booked.

Schmidt comments on Fernandez’s start

Benfica manager Schmidt’s comments about Fernandez’s performance after the game offered a positive assessment. Speaking to Mais Futebol, Schmidt said – “Carreras did well, especially in the first half, they had very good moments in attack. He was fine with his decisions.

“I think he had a very good game, in the second half he didn’t have so many attacking moments, but I think it was a good first game as a starter.”

Benfica have recently been playing centre-back Morato as a left-back, and he has done well there. Schmidt believes that Fernandez offers something different to his side. He explained – “I think it’s not just the type of players, it was more the opponent and especially, when the opponent is so compact, like Vizela, you need an attacking full-back.

“Álvaro did it, but Morato has also been doing well, they are different players, but they are both capable of playing the way we want full-backs to play.”

Benfica will be in action on Sunday in the league away at Vitoria, before the Europa League resumes. They face off against French side Toulouse. Fernandez will hope he has done enough to earn another start in one of these matches.

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