It is clear for all to see how big Bruno Fernandes’ impact has been on Manchester United.
Most United signings since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement have shrunk under the pressure but the Portuguese has embraced the responsibility.
He is making plenty of United’s players perform better but Juan Mata seems to love playing alongside Fernandes.
Europa League stroll
Mata and Fernandes lined up alongside each other behind closed doors against LASK last night, as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made five changes from the team which beat Manchester City.
Mata netted United’s third goal of the night, which was one of four shots. Nobody in United colours had more.
The Spaniard also contributed two key passes from his role on the right hand side of midfield.
Fernandes is now United’s main creator, but far from putting Mata’s nose out of joint, the pair look to have formed an almost instant connection.
Why does it work?
United haven’t had a playmaker like Fernandes in so long, who is capable of playing in tight spaces between the lines.
Mata isn’t especially quick so he needs to rely on speed of thought to get free, and Fernandes is on his wavelength.
The Spaniard isn’t marooned out on the right hand side, he’s free to drift inside and play smart, short passes with Fernandes.
That looks to have reinvigorated Mata, who is playing football with a smile on his face again.
A well-taken goal was the least he deserved for his night’s work, where he showcased the impressive understanding he has struck up with Fernandes, in just a small number of games.
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