Manchester United legend-turned-pundit Paul Scholes believes Bruno Fernandes could be becoming a problem following the club’s 1-1 Premier League draw against Southampton.
The Red Devils have been in a poor run of form since the winter break. They suffered a shock FA Cup fourth round exit at the hands of Middlesbrough earlier this month.
This has been followed by back-to-back league draws against Burnley and Southampton. The Red Devils took the lead on both occasions, only to squander the advantage right after the interval.
Speaking after yesterday’s stalemate, Scholes was far from pleased with the tactical set-up of interim manager Ralf Rangnick.
He added to particularly question the role of Fernandes, who was ‘all over the pitch’ and played behind Diogo Dalot towards the end.
He told BT Sport (via The Mirror): “We don’t know what’s gone on in the training field – you don’t know the attitude of the players.
“He tried to start with a 4-3-3, Scott [McTominay] holding and Fernandes and [Paul] Pogba playing higher up.
“Then he brought Pogba back and shoved Fernandes higher up – I think Fernandes could be a bit of a problem.
“As much as he’s a talented lad, when he first came to England he scored so many good goals, so many assists, but he’s all over the football pitch.
“Pogba likes to wander about. You see Fernandes, sometimes he’s a right-back, sometimes left-back.
“The end of the game he’s playing behind [Diogo] Dalot for five minutes. They’re either not taking instructions on, or they don’t want to.”
Fernandes has been an excellent signing for United. He was excellent in his first full season last term, bagging 18 goals and 11 assists in the league alone.
The Portugal international has not found the same consistency this term with just seven goals and five assists from his 23 top-flight outings.
It was always expected to be difficult to replicate his showing from last season, but it can’t be denied that he remains one of the club’s most creative players.
The 27-year-old often plays a free role, helping out the defence occasionally, but it does not seem to work out with Pogba playing alongside him.
Pogba also likes to engage with forward runs regularly. McTominay was left on his own in the defensive midfield role on multiple occasions yesterday.
It remains to be seen how Rangnick finds a solution. United can’t afford another slip-up against Brighton & Hove Albion on Tuesday with their top-four hopes fading by the game.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com.
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