“He finished the season on his knees.”
Arsene Wenger put Bruno Fernandes’ below-par performance in the Europa League final down to fatigue following a long season with Manchester United.
Fernandes captained United against Villarreal in the absence of Harry Maguire but his showing in Gdansk came in for criticism as the Red Devils came up short in a marathon penalty shootout.
Former Arsenal manager, Wenger, is of the opinion that tiredness finally caught up with Fernandes in the latter weeks of season.
The Portuguese playmaker featured 37 times for United in all competitions last term but Wenger is hopeful that Fernandes will have rested enough to be able to impress for his national team in the upcoming Euro 2020 tournament.
“I personally feel that he finished the season on his knees, and he missed the spark,” Wenger told beIN Sports. “And sometimes you can see as well, I found him much more nervous in the game (Europa League final).
Wenger on Bruno Fernandes
“So that, as well, is a sign of fatigue. Your top level is calm, concentration, control. And in the last four or five games, I found him a bit weak on that front. So I hope that he can recover to be efficient for Portugal.
“I know Bruno wants to play but sometimes you make decisions for the benefit of both the team and him.”
Portugal are one of the favourites for the Euros – along with the likes of France, England and Belgium – and Wenger believes that the squad depth at Fernando Santos’ disposal could prove pivotal this summer.
“Portugal at the moment to me looks to be the best equipped to be dangerous because they won the European Championship in France,” Wenger said.
“They have since had good results in the Nations League, and overall, I would say they have great offensive potential as well.
“They have (Diogo) Jota who plays now at Liverpool, who is a very convincing player.
“They have fantastic players. They have (Pedro) Neto. They’re spoiled for choice as well. Portugal produces players.”