Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes must focus himself rather than Cristiano Ronaldo when the pair are on the pitch together, one pundit has said.
Fernandes has proved one of the Red Devils’ most effective signings following his 2020 arrival from Sporting. In fact, he has plundered 47 goals in 107 games while also chipping in with 36 assists.
The Portugal international enjoyed his best season last term, when he hit 28 goals in all competitions.
This term, he has directly contributed to 18 goals so far this campaign. While he has therefore enjoyed some impressive form, he has not hit his previous heights.
According to former Premier League goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen, having fellow Portugal star Ronaldo on the pitch is not helping Fernandes.
“I think it’s a mentality thing,” Sorensen told Optus Sport‘s GegenPod. “When Bruno Fernandes doesn’t play with Ronaldo, he has that selfishness that ‘okay, I’m taking charge, I’m the man, I’m here to get the goals’ and he plays with just a different attitude
“When he plays with Ronaldo, it seems he’s more concerned elevating Ronaldo’s game than actually doing something for himself, he becomes the provider. He’s happy to take a step into the background a bit and I don’t know if that’s the right attitude.
“He needs to pick up his game, he needs to step up when Ronaldo’s on the pitch.”
Ronaldo’s shock arrival has paid dividends with the 36-year-old’s goals. He effectively sealed United’s place in the last 16 of the Champions League with a series of late goals.
Ronaldo has also netted eight times in 17 Premier League games. However, some observers have claimed that the forward’s arrival quashed the plan Man Utd set out in pre-season.
Sorensen added that there is no reason why Ronaldo and Fernandes cannot work in tandem.
“On paper, it should be a match made in heaven,” the ex-stopper said. “You’ve got two great players with all the credentials.
Fernandes must fix Ronaldo issue
“But I don’t know if he thinks he owes Ronaldo a bit from where Ronaldo’s looked after him and he’s scared of Ronaldo in some aspects.
“It definitely looks like that on the pitch and that speaks for itself and when Ronaldo’s not there he plays a different game.
“I don’t think it comes down to tactics, I think it comes down to his mentality and the way he goes about things.”
United return to action on Saturday when facing West Ham at Old Trafford in Premier League action.