‘It should be done in a better way’: Fernandes criticises Qatar World Cup

Bruno Fernandes has become the most outspoken critic yet of the World Cup among those who will actually be playing in it. “It’s not exactly the time we want to be playing in the World Cup,” the Manchester United midfielder said after his side’s 2-1 win at Fulham.

“I think for everyone, players and fans, it’s not the best time. Kids will be at school, people will be working and the timings will not be the best for people to watch the games.”

Fernandes is a key part of the Portugal side that will begin its campaign against Ghana a week on Thursday. “We know the surroundings of the World Cup,” he went on, “what has been in the past few weeks, past few months, about the people that have died on the construction of the stadiums. We are not happy about that at all.

“We want football to be for everyone, everyone has to be included and involved in a World Cup because a World Cup is the world. It’s for everyone, it doesn’t matter who. But for a World Cup it’s more than football, it’s a party for fans, players, something that’s a joy to watch, should be done in a better way.”

United won the game with an injury-time winner from the 18-year-old Argentinian Alejandro Garnacho. “He has a lot of talent and his work rate together with the talent makes a big difference with us from the bench,” Fernandes said.

Even that, though, was overshadowed by the World Cup and what the United manager, Erik ten Hag, described as the “danger” of “four weeks, no games, lose focus”.

Marco Silva was frustrated to see his Fulham side concede a decisive injury-time goal in successive games, after Manchester City’s winner last weekend.

“It’s tough to take,” the manager said. “We deserved much more from the game. We have to learn from this type of moment.”