Bruno Fernandes’ start at Manchester United could not possibly have gone any better.
The Portuguese star is unbeaten since signing for United at the end of January, and played a key part in the team’s surge in form.
Fernandes scored three goals and provided four assists, adding elements of creativity, unpredictability and danger to United’s attack.
Now when the games resume from later this month, Fernandes will want to return with the same impressive form he signed off with before the season came to an abrupt halt.
It may be straightforward. Fernandes has a habit of making everything on the football pitch look so easy. But we saw enough of United without the superstar, to know that what he does cannot just be replicated by anybody.
The pressure is on
Fernandes’ form led to him being named in the BBC Team of the Season, despite playing just five games.
As The Express reported, this led to ‘fury’ from rival fans, who accused Fernandes of being both over-hyped, and not having proven anything yet.
So now there are even more people waiting for Fernandes to fail, so they can take their digs.
If Fernandes does not replicate the form he started with, it will take the shine off his early displays.
He is a confident player and most likely won’t let it worry him, but from a tactical perspective, he could find teams are making an extra effort to try and stop him, by fair or foul.
Fernandes will have to prove he can’t be stopped, and show that his initial form was normal for him, and not just a purple patch.
Playing with Pogba
A dream midfield partnership of Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba is nearly upon us for the first time.
This is the best midfield combination United have had in years, and then any of Fred, Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic can round off an effective trio.
Getting to play with Pogba is a blessing for Fernandes, but his partnership with the Frenchman may have a bump in the road at first.
United won’t get to ease in, with the first game back away at Tottenham Hotspur.
If the result does not go our way, and Pogba and Fernandes start, their partnership will become a talking point, until we do start winning.
Practising together on the training pitch is one thing, but until you get to a game, you never quite know how it will go, and other teams could exploit this.
On the plus side, Fernandes took no time adjusting to his new teammates when he joined, and he is used to playing with Cristiano Ronaldo at international level, so nothing about Pogba’s stature will phase him at all.
Pogba is likely to make Fernandes even better, and vice versa. Teams will find it difficult to game plan for both players, and trying to shut just one of them down could be futile.
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