Manchester United lost 3-1 to Aston Villa yesterday at Villa Park in what was a sub-par performance from the Red Devils.
United fell to three goals from Leon Bailly, Lucas Digne and Jacob Ramsay.
On a day when United lacked creativity and inventiveness, it served to highlight the importance of Bruno Fernandes, the club’s main creative force.
Fernandes was suspended after receiving a booking against West Ham. In his absence, Cristiano Ronaldo captained the team.
Speaking after the match, the United manager gave his reason for appointing Ronaldo as captain, a decision many questioned.
Ronaldo has been poor this season both on and off the pitch, with his angry crowd against Tottenham exposing cracks in the player’s relationship with Ten Hag.
On why he entrusted the 37-year-old with the bracelet, Ten Hag said: “Cristiano is the leader, especially [he] He is the leader of the team for what the band has, of course”.
The Dutch coach named two other surprising candidates who could have received the captaincy honor before finally settling on Ronaldo.
“Casemiro is the leader, Licha [Martinez] can be a leader. Casemiro does not speak 100% perfect English.”
David de Gea is another who came to the fore in Ten Hag’s comments as a possible alternative captain choice.
It says a lot about the character of Martinez and Casemiro that just a few months after arriving at Old Trafford they are already being talked about as the leaders of the team and can be trusted as Ten Hag’s lieutenants.
The pairing has been solid so far and while they may not have been as great against Unai Emery’s side, one can’t help but think they’ll both be fearless again in the next game.