• Alejandro Garnacho made his senior debut last season
  • He scored his maiden goal for the Red Devils on Thursday
  • Cristiano Ronaldo assisted the goal

Bruno Fernandes has revealed the reason why Alejandro Garnacho took so long to play for Manchester United's first team this season.

The 18-year-old scored the sole goal in Manchester United's 1-0 win over Real Sociedad in the Europa League on Thursday. It was Garnacho's first goal for the Red Devils' senior side after making his first-team debut last campaign.

The young winger has made only five appearances for Erik ten Hag's side this season. Last week, the Dutch coach revealed that he was unhappy with Garnacho's attitude during their pre-season preparations.

Backing Ten Hag's assessment, Fernandes said there were problems with Garnacho in Manchester United's dressing room and that the young playmaker did not deserve to start games for the first team until he showed signs of improvement.

"He was good but he knows we expect a lot from him. Obviously, he's still really young, he's doing really well. At the beginning of the season, he was not at his best. In the [pre-season] tour he didn't have the best attitude that he should have, and that's why he didn't get his chances until now," Fernandes said after Manchester United's 1-0 win in San Sebastian.

"He's getting his chances because he's training better, he's got a different attitude and he's deserving his chances," the Portuguese midfielder added.

Garnacho's "dream moment" of scoring for Manchester United became extra special Thursday with his "idol" Cristiano Ronaldo assisting the goal.

Garnacho is eligible to play for Spain (his country of birth) and Argentina as his mother is Argentinian. After making three appearances for Spain's Under-18 side last year, Garnacho was called up by Argentina's senior side as part of an initial 44-man squad for two of their World Cup qualifiers in March. While he made it to the final 33-man squad, Garnacho did not get a game.

So far, Garnacho has made a total of seven appearances for Manchester United in all competitions.

Since Manchester United finished second in Group E of the 2022-23 Europa League, they will now have to play two extra games this season as a part of the tournament's knockout playoff round.

Manchester United beat Tottenham 2-0 to close within one point of the top four

The playoff round could have been skipped if they had finished as table-toppers. Real Sociedad finished at the top of the group with the same points as Manchester United (15) but with a better goal difference.