With a crucial Champions League decider looming midweek, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer decided to start Bruno Fernandes on the bench away to West Ham United last season.
But the plan to rest Fernandes backfired with United trailing 1-0 at half-time and the side looked lost without the Portuguese’s drive, creativity and leadership.
Fernandes replaced Donny van de Beek and came on alongside Marcus Rashford.
A Fernandes-inspired United ran out 3-1 winners against David Moyes’ side, but we did crash out of the Champions League three days later after the 3-2 defeat to RB Leipzig.
Bruno Fernandes will start against West Ham
The victory at West Ham last season moved us into the top four and Fernandes had directly created eight chances from open play (Sky Sports).
That was the most by any player in a Premier League game at that stage last season. In fact, it was the most that any player had created in a Premier League game for Manchester United in a decade (Sky Sports). And he came on at half-time.
Fernandes registered his first assist of this season with a delightful outside of the boot cross to Cristiano Ronaldo in the 2-1 defeat to Young Boys.
Following the defeat to the Swiss champions and the lessons of not starting Fernandes at West Ham last season, the 27-year-old is guaranteed to be in the starting line-up on Sunday.
Fernandes can get rest in midweek
Towards the end of last season the former Sporting Lisbon man looked shattered and this carried over into his sub-par performances at Euro 2020.
But with the likes of Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, van de Beek and Juan Mata all capable of filling the Fernandes void, Solskjaer is going to have to rest United’s number 18 at times.
United have become so reliant on Fernandes that the team looks completely lost without him, but in order for the joint Premier League top goalscorer to be fresh for the final part of the season, Solskjaer will have to be bold and get his side to find a way to win without their talisman.
But after his performance at The London Stadium last season, the rest can wait for the Carabao Cup clash midweek.
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