Ralf Rangnick praises Bruno Fernandes 'improved performance' in Manchester United win

Bruno Fernandes would probably be among the first to admit this has not been a particularly great few weeks for him.

Despite signing a new contract and securing Portugal’s World Cup place, Fernandes has struggled for form, and even missed a penalty in the recent defeat at Arsenal.

Fernandes was back among the goals in Manchester United’s victory over Brentford, scoring the opener after good work from Anthony Elanga.

This was not the only positive aspect of his display. Manager Ralf Rangnick felt his all round game was better.

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Speaking to United’s official website, Rangnick said he felt Fernandes was more efficient and raised his game.

Rangnick said: “I think the fact we played with Juan Mata and Nemanja Matic gave us some quality in midfield, plus Cristiano and Bruno.

“Bruno was also showing an improved performance, not only because he scored the goal but also in possession. It was not so easy for them to take the ball away from us.”

Fernandes was tidy in possession, completing 77 of 87 passes, 89 per cent. His average for the season in the Premier League is 78 per cent completion.

Adding Juan Mata in alongside Fernandes helped him. It took some of the creative burden away from Fernandes, and stopping him having to try too hard, to compensate for a lack of help from elsewhere.

This is something which worked at the start of the 2020/21 season under Solskjaer, before Mata was dropped, and the pair have rarely played together since.

Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images

Mata is leaving on a free at the end of the season, but he may have helped remind United of a blueprint for how to get the best out of Fernandes. It’s quite simple, help him out with similarly talented creative players.

Brentford were not particularly good, it has to be said, and played into United’s hands with a lack of intensity, but we’ll take it.

Fernandes’ goal was his 50th for the club. He needs just one more to equal Juan Mata, in substantially less time.

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