Bruno Fernandes has told The Athletic he still believes opponents pay extra attention to trying to stop Cristiano Ronaldo.

Fernandes says this makes his job for Manchester United and Portugal easier, as it creates more space for him to exploit.

He said: “To play with Cristiano as a No 10 is actually really good because players respect Cristiano so much that it creates more space, as the opponents are afraid of him taking the ball and scoring.

“They want to mark him and (they) create an overload where he is to mark him.”

Fernandes disagrees with suggestions he is better without Cristiano Ronaldo in the team, pointing to the fact he has not exactly been prolific this season when United’s number 7 has not been in the starting line-up.

He said: “I played the last four Premier League games without Cristiano starting and I scored only one goal. So it is not because of Cristiano. It is about momentum, timing. Sometimes it goes in a bad way and sometimes a better way.

“Obviously he can be really good to play together with, for someone who gives assists, as if you give him the right ball, he will score goals.”

Photo by IAN KINGTON/AFP via Getty Images

Ronaldo and Fernandes are yet to click consistently for United

At the start of last season the combination between Bruno Fernandes and Cristiano Ronaldo looked promising.

Fernandes’ excellent assist away at Young Boys set up a goal for Ronaldo, and this was followed up by a backheel assist for the striker away at Atalanta.

Days later Fernandes supplied a pass for Ronaldo to volley in a stunning opening strike in a 3-0 away win over Tottenham.

But this November assist was the final one Fernandes supplied to Ronaldo in any competition all season, ending with just one Premier League combination between the pair.

Some of this has to be put down to coaching, laid at the door of Ralf Rangnick. Erik ten Hag has not managed to get the pair to click together yet either, but it’s still very early days.

Ronaldo is still recovering his own fitness and form, scoring his first goal of the season from the penalty spot last week in the Europa League.

Fernandes says he enjoys playing alongside Ronaldo, and he will get more chances to show it with Portugal facing Czech Republic and then Spain during the international break.

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