Bruno Fernandes was back from suspension when Manchester United hosted Wolves last night but Ralf Rangnick named him among the substitutes.
The Portuguese playmaker was the first player Rangnick brought on in pursuit of a winning goal, replacing Mason Greenwood in a decision which did not go down well with some factions of the Old Trafford crowd.
Fernandes missed United’s best chance of the game after coming on, blasting Nemanja Matic’s cross onto the bar when he really should have scored.
Legendary United striker Andy Cole commented on Fernandes’ form after the game. He has just one goal in all competitions for United since September.
Cole said: “He has to score, as simple as that. He gets into a great position and that’s a tap-in for him.
“It’s been funny at the moment. Ronaldo’s come back and it’s like [Bruno’s] whole game has changed. I looked at him this season, since Ronaldo’s come back and he hasn’t been the same player he was last season.
“And you look at that and think – why? He has the quality, he shouldn’t worry about whether Ronaldo’s in the team because they’re both quality players who want the same thing.
“But his form has changed since Ronaldo has come back.”
Ronaldo has had a big impact on this United team. Bruno was the dominant player before but now his international teammate is the main man.
They should be able to play together because they both get along well and have played together for Portugal, but something isn’t quite clicking.
Of course, Fernandes now has the added challenge of finding a role in Rangnick’s 4-2-2-2 system. Before, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s 4-2-3-1 was built around him.
Fernandes will be struggling in terms of confidence, and scoring that chance last night would likely have been a huge boost. From there, United could have gone on to win the game.
That said, a victory would have masked another poor team performance and the issues at the club run deeper than Fernandes’ individual form.
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