Bruno Fernandes injury: Forest boss denies Man Utd captain targeted | Football

Nuno Espirito Santo has denied Nottingham Forest singled out Bruno Fernandes for rough treatment against Manchester United (Picture: Beanyman Sports)

Nuno Espirito Santo hit back at Erik ten Hag and denied Erik ten Hag’s claim that his Nottingham Forest players deliberately targeted Bruno Fernandes during last night’s FA Cup clash.

A late goal from Casemiro was enough to help United earn a morale-boosting victory that set-up a box office quarter final tie against Liverpool at Old Trafford.

The victory came at a cost, however, with Fernandes now a doubt for this weekend’s Manchester derby after he was seen limping away from the City Ground.

Fernandes had already been carrying an injury but declared himself fit enough to play last night and it was his expertly delivered free-kick that helped create the decisive moment in a contest that had looked destined for extra time.

Afterwards, the United boss confirmed Fernandes’ injury was a significant one and accused Forest of singling out the Portugal international for particularly rough treatment.

He said: ‘He has a serious injury, he continued to play on Saturday [against Fulham] and then also he fought to be part of this game. He has a very high pain threshold.

‘Last year, he did something similar against Spurs and I think in the semi-final. It shows his leadership.’

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Erik ten Hag was unhappy with Nottingham Forest's players for their treatment of Bruno Fernandes

Erik ten Hag was unhappy with Nottingham Forest’s players for their treatment of Bruno Fernandes (Picture: Getty)

‘There were many fouls on him. You see when he is getting the ball, they are really tight on him.’

Asked for his response to his opposite number’s claim, Nuno said: ‘No I don’t think so, I don’t think so.

‘He’s a very good player. Today was the case again he’s a good player he needs to be controlled and I think Danilo and Yates did that, but in a fair way not ever causing any problems or trying to injure him. I didn’t see what Erik saw.’

Fernandes, meanwhile, was not the only United star who played through the pain barrier last night with Raphael Varane also putting his body on the line to help his team reach the last eight.

The experienced French defender played a key role in quelling the threat of a Forest attack that put United to the sword in their recent league meeting and Ten Hag was delighted with the former Real Madrid centre-half’s contribution.

He said: ‘It was not easy, especially in the back four we had serious problems. I am very happy that Rapha fought to play his game and Bruno he had a very bad injury as well.

‘He fought to be part of the game. I am very pleased for him, to have an assist on the goal of Casemiro.’

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