Bruno Fernandes highlights 'right steps' Man Utd have taken after FA Cup final defeat
Bruno Fernandes insisted Manchester United have taken the 'right steps' this season but warned that there was still plenty of work to do after their FA Cup final defeat to Manchester City on Saturday.
Ilkay Gundogan gave the freshly crowned Premier League champions a lead inside 13 seconds with the fastest goal in FA Cup final history but Fernandes equalised for United before the interval.
City dominated large swathes of the showpiece, restoring their lead through Gundogan again after the break. United's only shot on target inside 90 minutes was Fernandes' penalty - although, Stefan Ortega was belatedly forced into a late pair of saves in stoppage time from Raphael Varane and Scott McTominay.
Speaking to the BBC after collecting his runners-up medal, Fernandes revealed: "Everyone is down and it's really difficult. We wanted to end the season in a different way but it wasn't possible.
"We've made the right steps for next season, it wasn't a successful season overall but it was a good one. We have to now look forward to get our batteries back, come back next season and understand that there is still a long way to get in a position to win bigger trophies."
Fernandes was not keen to hide behind United's sluggish starting, pointing out: "We came back into the game, we started badly but came back into it and had good spells on the ball in the first half.
"After we scored, we had some good counters but didn't score. We conceded early in the second half and then still had other chances but we didn't and City deserved the win.
"We were too soft and gave up too much space for the first goal but it's an amazing strike. If players are tighter then maybe they can stop it but it's an amazing strike."
Fernandes, as United's captain, took the time to congratulate City's players while they waited to lift the trophy on the Wembley pitch. In the post-match interview, Fernandes was effusive in his praise of Gundogan. "He's an amazing player," the Portugal international gushed, "and one of the best midfielders in the Premier League."
Train strikes and transport delays in the capital made getting to Wembley an ordeal for fans of both United and City but Fernandes was keen to laud the noise produced by the Red Devils that did make it into the ground.
"Our fans have been great all season and they deserved a different result today," Fernandes said. "We're disappointed that we couldn't give fans the joy they deserve.
"We are grateful for everything they have done this season. I promise we will come and try again next season."