A goal and an assist made Bruno Fernandes the Man of the Match in a comfortable 3-0 win for Manchester United against Watford. The Portuguese plays with an intensity that has been missed at Old Trafford and this was a fine performance.

Statistics show how Fernandes is dragging Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s up the pitch with a high percentage of forward passes. Fans have often complained, in this season as well as previous campaigns, about the midfielders looking back towards their defence too often.

(Photo by John Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Fernandes plays part in all three goals for United

Fernandes opened the scoring for United just before half-time as he struck home from the penalty spot.

He later grabbed an assist for Mason Greenwood when he had already created the chance that Anthony Martial scored from.

What’s notable from Fernandes’ statistics, other than his attacking quality is that he made five recoveries. The aggression he offers off the ball in midfield has been impressive.

Fernandes is forcing Reds to progress forward

Almost half of Fernandes’ 61 passes against Watford were directed forwards. It’s the same as seen in games against Chelsea and Watford, the other two times the 26-year-old has played in the league so far.

 

Fernandes’ forward pass attempts:

51/86 (59.3%) vs Wolves
20/39 (51.3%) vs Chelsea
28/61 (45.9%) vs Watford

via @utdarena on Twitter

It puts into stats what everyone can see: Fernandes is improving the tempo and directness of United’s play. He’s the creative force that the Reds have been craving all season and in past campaigns.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 23: Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United in action with Christian Kabasele of Watford during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Watford FC at Old Trafford on February 23, 2020 in Manchester, United Kingdom.
(Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images)

United cannot allow Fernandes to be their sole output of creativity, though. It’s important that the midfielder is joined by further quality in that area of the pitch.

When Paul Pogba arrived at United, he had a good start but once all responsibilities were dumped upon him, he began to look a lesser player by the game.

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