Manchester United legends, Paul Scholes and Rio Ferdinand have applauded Villarreal boss, Unai Emery for successfully ‘snuffing out’ Bruno Fernandes during United’s Europa League final defeat to the Spanish outfit.
Gerard Moreno put the Spaniards ahead in the first half but Edinson Cavani leveled for United to take the game to extra time.
The Red Devils lost the game after a gruelling penalty shootout, with goalkeeper David de Gea missing the decisive spot-kick to keep his side on level terms.
Emery seemed to have assigned Etienne Capoue with the task of nullifying Fernandes with the Portuguese having an uncharacteristically quiet evening.
Scholes and Ferdinand reserved special praise for Emery for being able to deal with United’s biggest threat brilliantly.
“Obviously it’s a really disappointing night. I thought it was a really poor game on the whole really.
“Three shots on target all night, United would be the ones you’d expect to take the game to them,” ex-United and England midfielder Scholes said.
“We spoke a lot before the game about the effect Bruno Fernandes has for United.
“Unai Emery is probably the first manager who has really tried to snuff that out and he did that tonight.
“Whoever was closest to him got really against him. Capoue especially was the one, [Francis] Coquelin when he came on got right against him. Don’t let him get his head up because he will destroy you.
“And tonight I don’t really remember him having an effect on the game.”
On his part, Ferdinand felt that Emery got his tactics right in combatting the threat of Fernandes, who contributed five goals and four assists on United’s path to the final.
“I just think tactically Unai Emery got it spot on tonight,” the former defender said.
“Bruno, as Scholesy said, was absolutely nullified and he was close down at all times and the space for people like Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford and Edinson Cavani to get behind and exploit that space – with their pace and movement and anticipation – was never there today.
“You have to give credit to Unai Emery today because he got them tactics spot on.”