Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has picked the same Manchester United side for the past four Premier League games.
With United winning the matches by a combined score of 14-2, it is understandable why he is sticking with his best team.
This has meant several players normally regarded as rotational options have been reduced to more clearly defined back-ups.
Bruno Fernandes is one of the team’s shining lights at the moment, who is deservedly receiving plaudits amid a 17-game unbeaten run.
Speaking to the club website, Fernandes says he believes some of his lesser-seen teammates could still have key roles to play this season.
Fernandes said: “We have a lot of quality on the bench – Odion [Ighalo] scored in the cup against Norwich and we also have players like Dan James, Jesse [Lingard], Juan [Mata], Chongy [Tahith Chong].
“So we know when we’re tired and we need some freshness, we have a lot of players for the end of the season. It’s easy to play with these kind of players.”
Lack of minutes can work both ways
Fernandes’ comments will be gladly received by his teammates, who could need a bit of a confidence boost right now, having been benched for the last few games.
Young star Tahith Chong, 20, has not played a single minute since the restart and has not even made the bench.
It’s been tough for him, having provided an assist with his final touch pre-lockdown in the win over LASK, so to hear Fernandes pick him out like this will lift his spirits.
The lack of opportunities will make United’s back-up players even more determined to take advantage of their opportunities when they do come.
This could be to United’s benefit if the players are fired up, but with Chong as we saw at the start of the season, it could lead to nervousness and erratic play.
United’s back-ups did not look especially sharp against Norwich when given a chance, with the exception of Odion Ighalo, who scored his fifth goal for the club.
A week of opportunity?
This could be a week in which a few of United’s fringe players get a chance to contribute.
United face Southampton tonight, Crystal Palace on Thursday, and Chelsea in the FA Cup on Sunday.
The same team cannot be expected to start all three games, and United’s squad depth will be important.
This is a week of opportunity, and Fernandes is right to talk his teammates up ahead of a pivotal set of matches.
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