Stopping Bruno Fernandes job number one for Tottenham Hotspur

Bruno Fernandes (Photo by Matt Childs/ Pool via Getty Images)
Bruno Fernandes (Photo by Matt Childs/ Pool via Getty Images) /
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Tottenham, Harry Kane
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 04: Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur battles for possession with Eric Bailly of Manchester United during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford on October 04, 2020, in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images) /

How Tottenham stops Bruno Fernandes

Normally one might say that stopping a player like Fernandes is a team effort, however, given his emphasis on the team, having someone running with him at all times may be the best bet for Spurs to slow and even stop Bruno. Here is our three-point plan for stopping Fernandes and winning the game.

Tottenham need to play with the ball

The best way to stop any great attack is to keep the ball from them. Manchester United is too good for Tottenham to sit back and simply absorb pressure for 90 minutes. Likewise, on the road, the Red Devils are more likely to sit back a bit themselves.

Tottenham needs to take the ball and keep it from Manchester United. The more the Spurs have the ball, the less pressure they will be under and the fewer opportunities for Fernandes to make a big play. Manchester United is good but they are not great, Tottenham needs to take it to them, and keeping the ball is the number one way to slow Fernandes and the entire Manchester United team.

Of course, Tottenham will not have 90% of possession and will be lucky to have 60%. The next step in stopping Fernandes is when the Spurs do not have the ball, to deny Bruno from getting it.

Spurs need to man-mark Fernandes

I realize that man-marking is not really the Tottenham style, however, if Pierre-Emile Højbjerg and Tanguy Ndombele are constantly pulled wide to cover for the fullbacks it will leave Bruno with way too much space. The inconsistent play from the fullback and center-back position has left Tottenham unbalanced in the middle of the park time and again.

Instead of hoping that does not happen, instead, putting Pierre Højbjerg on Fernandes and asking him to stop the attacker from getting the ball is a better approach. Much like Mourinho would do with Messi when he was playing Barcelona as coach of Real Madrid, keeping a man on the opponent’s best player can help stifle their attack.

The less Fernandes has the ball the less he impacts the game. The best way to limit those touches, outside of maintaining possession is by denying him the ball. If Tottenham can stay on the front foot and work to limit Fernandes touches with a bit of man-on-man defense the last big key is to not give away the easy one.

Tottenham need to avoid the big penalty

Eight times in the league this season and in three straight matches against Tottenham, Manchester United has gotten a penalty kick. José Mourinho may not want to have addressed it in his press conference but it is a clear elephant in the room. When United needs a goal, magically penalties come.

Tottenham needs to avoid giving away those freebies as well as good looks. Fernandes has not been James Ward Prowse this season but teams always seem to hit freekicks against Tottenham. Giving United opportunities anywhere within 10 yards of the box is really dangerous. Any fouls on the edge in the middle are almost as bad a penalty kick would be.

Fernandes has 11 dead ball goals this season. Tottenham simply cannot afford to let him make that total 12, as it will spell disaster. Bruno Fernandes has been incredibly consistent this season for Manchester United. Fernades not scored or assisted in just 11 of United’s 30 games in League on the season, the Red Devils have only won two of those 11 matches.

If Tottenham is to win on Sunday, it starts with stopping Bruno Fernandes.

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