Manchester United’s attacking midfielder Bruno Fernandes says he passed up the chance to score a hat-trick from the penalty spot to keep team-mate Marcus Rashford feeling confident in front of goal.
The Old Trafford club beat Istanbul Basaksehir 4-1 in the Champions League on Tuesday night, with Portuguese star Fernandes netting the first two early on.
Rashford then won a spot-kick after being fouled at the end of a run into the area, but while Fernandes initially stepped up to take the penalty as usual, he then passed over responsibility to the England international - who duly scored United’s third.
Speaking after the game, the January arrival said he would have loved to have netted his treble, but was putting the team first by keeping Rashford’s mindset positive as he remains among the Champions League’s highest scorers, with just Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland - with six goals - ahead of Rashford’s five this season.
“Every player wants to score a hat-trick but after the weekend game I told [Rashford] the next penalty, he will take,” Fernandes said to BT Sport.
“Also because he is one of the top scorers in the Champions League, so it’s good to keep his confidence [high]. The most important is the team; if the team scores I score.”
On the game itself, Fernandes said United’s fast start proved the difference, with his brace coming inside the first 20 minutes.
And with the matches coming thick and fast at home and abroad, Fernandes urged the team to keep focusing on the next upcoming challenge before worrying about finishing the job in Europe.
"We played really well, we started the game with the right mentality. The first half [performance] was really important to get the points today.
“Now we have to think about the Premier League because we need to win the next game. We don’t have too much time, but a little bit of time before the [next] Champions League [games].”