Sport Man Utd's Fernandes brushes off criticism of big-game record
Neville bemused after Fernandes started against Real Sociedad
The red-hot playmaker was named as United's captain for the second leg at Old Trafford, despite his team having recorded a thrilling 4-0 win in the first showdown in Turin last week. And the line-up from boss Solskjaer has resulted in many raised eyebrows, despite Fernandes' previous insistence that he does not need a rest. © Provided by Daily Mail Gary Neville questioned the decision to start Manchester United star Bruno Fernandes again After United's strong line-up for the return tie was unveiled, Neville took to Twitter to share his surprise.'Surprised he's playing,' he wrote.
(Reuters) - Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes has brushed off criticism over his performances against the Premier League's top clubs, saying his impact should not be judged solely on goals and assists.
Fernandes has made a big impression after joining from Sporting Lisbon last year, with 34 goals and 21 assists in all competitions.
But the Portugal international has netted just once across seven league games against Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea this season.
MICAH RICHARDS: Why Bruno is my player of the season
MICAH RICHARDS: I would have found myself going against the unwritten rule again. There are many fine candidates this year but the outstanding star of 2020-21 is Bruno Fernandes. His numbers at this stage of the campaign are frightening for a midfielder: 15 goals, 10 assists. Involved in a goal, either scoring or setting up, every 84 minutes. Fernandes has created 71 chances and I don’t believe United would be in the top four without him.The real mark of an outstanding player is what he does to others in the team and Fernandes has dragged improvement out of those around him. He also has a reputation now.
"I don't know what people mean by 'top six', because the teams are in top six in the table," Fernandes told Sky Sports. "I score and assist against some of them. I scored this season against Tottenham. But some people say penalties don't count!
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"I know people expect Bruno to score or assist in every game. I want to do that. But as a player, I don't look for big six or the rest of the league. I look for every game in the same way."
"...They're expecting just goals and assists, and not performances. They don't care about ball recovery or how many chances I create, because I can create 10 chances but if I don't score, people will say Bruno didn't play very well."
Despite the criticism, Fernandes is relishing the pressure of being the team's talisman.
"I can have that pressure on my back. I'm sure in some moments, I will score, assist, and I will perform. And that will help my team-mates to win," he said.
United are third in the table on 51 points from 27 games, 14 points behind runaway leaders Manchester City, who they visit later on Sunday.
(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)
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