Manchester United had to go through a long negotiation process and pay a little fortune to get Bruno Fernandes from Sporting. The first impression is that the saga was totally worth it, as the midfielder has been a standout performer for the Red Devils recently.
He scored several goals in different competitions and instantly became a leader on the pitch in the absence of Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford.
It all looks good, but I have the feeling that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is starting to rely too much on Fernandes and is not giving him enough rest which could be an issue.
Four Consecutive Starts
The manager was initially careful with his new signing but has now started him in four consecutive games. Since February 20th, Fernandes had been in the starting lineup in every single game and that’s a lot of playing time.
The midfielder stayed on the pitch for most of the games too and while he certainly enjoys life, this could be an issue. I expect to see him on the bench against Derby County in the FA Cup, by Solskjaer used the player from the begging.
That’s odd considering my next point.
I don’t see a good opportunity to give Fernandes some rest
anytime soon. Manchester United has important games against Manchester City and
Tottenham in the Premier League. If you add the Europa League matches against
LASK, that’s four encounters in the next two weeks.
Each of them could be crucial for United’s season, so Ole won’t be able to leave Fernandes out. Even after that streak, there’s the FA Cup quarterfinal against Norwich.
I believe that not resting Fernandes against Derby County was a mistake. The team should’ve been strong enough to beat Derby County without him and Manchester United will need his services by the end of the season.
The Portuguese midfielder will be pivotal on all fronts, so managing his minutes properly is something Solskjaer had to do. As it stands, the load might be too big and I won’t be shocked if the player gets injured or suffers a slump soon.