Manchester United cruised to a 1-0 victory against Southampton on Saturday, courtesy of a Bruno Fernandes goal.
While the Portuguese may have grabbed the headlines as a result of his brilliant finish, The Athletic’s Carl Anka reveals in an analysis of the playmaker that he has plenty to improve upon.
As per Anka, who describes Fernandes as a man fond of high-risk, high-reward passes forward, the number 8 must find a way to cut out the risks in his displays while maintaining a similar level of rewards to his teammates.
Anka says, “This is Bruno Fernandes. A man always trying to ‘make things happen’ but occasionally a player who neglects the good things that are already happening around him.”
“Fernandes is a player with a tendency to try to do everything.”
On Fernandes’ role against Southampton and his contributions, Anka says “In the first half, it appeared the plan was to use Fernandes more as an off-ball runner making late sprints into the penalty area.”
“It is an adjustment to Fernandes’ typical game as an on-ball creator and speaks to the wider recalibration the entire squad requires under [United manager Erik] Ten Hag.”
The Athletic reporter also outlined the difference between Fernandes, currently and under former manager, Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, who bought him from Sporting Lisbon.
“Fernandes cuts a very different figure in 2022-23 than the one who arrived in January 2020 and served as the attacking catalyst to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team.”
“He is no longer being asked to serve as the conduit for all of his team’s attacks but is now responsible for ball retention and regulation as United try to move from the edge of their penalty area to the opposition’s.”
“A pass completion rate of 68 per cent (on 37 passes) indicates Fernandes will take time to adjust. His touch map from Saturday still carries the mark of a man who wants to go everywhere all at once.”
“Fernandes will continue to retain Ten Hag’s favour as he is someone able to make something out of nothing. But as the United manager looks to make a team that can constantly produce, the 27-year-old will have to adjust.”
“The high-risk/high-reward cavalier needs to find a way to lower the risk to his team.”