Bruno Fernandes is "back to his best" for Manchester United, claim pundits

BBC pundits Gary Lineker and Micah Richards believe Bruno Fernandes’ performance against Aston Villa shows he is “back to his best”.

Captaining the side with Harry Maguire on the bench and Cristiano Ronaldo absent, United’s Portuguese ‘Magnifico’ scored two goals to put Ralf Rangnick’s Reds in control of the clash at Villa Park.

But United’s brittle defence couldn’t withstand Steven Gerrard side’s comeback and we had to settle for a disappointing point.

But Match of the Day host Gary Lineker felt Fernandes’ performance showed he was “back to his best” and his views were echoed by fellow BBC pundit Micah Richards.

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Richards said: “It was the Bruno Fernandes of last season. He was back to something like his best and he dictated the game.

“He played in midfield, played in the number 10 role, popped up as a number six. He kept on ticking things over and was always looking forward.

“He was organising things as well, especially with some younger players out there like [Anthony] Elanga, who I thought had a really good game.

“But for all the talk of [Cristiano] Ronaldo who didn’t play today, I really think he [Fernandes] was the main man today, he stepped up. He takes more responsibility when Ronaldo isn’t there. He is quality player.”

Photo by LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP via Getty Images

Since signing for Manchester United from Sporting Lisbon in January 2020, only Harry Kane (34) and Mohamed Salah (45) have scored more in the Premier League than Fernandes (33).

After blazing his penalty over the bar in United’s 1-0 defeat to Villa at Old Trafford in September, Fernandes managed to exact some revenge over Villa stopper Emiliano Martinez, who let the 27-year-old’s long-range effort squirm through his grasp for United’s opener, after being distracted by Edinson Cavani.

Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images

Following some pressure from Diogo Dalot, Fred capitalised on Morgan Sanson’s wayward pass and played in Fernandes, who smashed his effort past Martinez via the crossbar to double United’s lead.

Fernandes has struggled at this season, but he still has seven goals and nine assists from 26 matches across all competitions this season.

United’s capitulation against Aston Villa will do little to build the seemingly threadbare confidence within the camp, but Bruno Fernandes’ return to form was a big positive.

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Passionate Football fan that completed a NCTJ-accredited Diploma in Multimedia Sports Journalism in 2016.