Paul Scholes has refuted accusations of Manchester United being over-reliant on Bruno Fernandes, with the Portuguese playmaker considered to be doing his job as others are urged to “step up”.
The Red Devils have seen the 26-year-old midfielder, who was snapped up during the winter transfer window of 2020, become a talismanic presence at Old Trafford.
Fernandes has registered 31 goals and 20 assists through 57 appearances, but Scholes is eager to point out that he was acquired to deliver on those fronts and merely needs greater assistance from those around him in order for the Red Devils to unlock their full potential.
What has been said?
“I played in that [number 10] position for a while but I was never as creative or scored as many goals as he has in that position.
“Obviously I played in a deeper role than he is, but you have to look at his numbers and what he is doing is sensational. We just need to get a team around him that can push on to win the league.
“Are we too reliant on him? No I don't think so. That is his role in the team. You have to remember United paid a lot of money for this type of player.
“He is a player whose job it is to create goals and score goals. Now he is doing that better than we ever imagined. Other players need to step up now.”
Is anyone getting close to matching Fernandes?
While United are keen to avoid admissions of relying solely on Fernandes for moments of inspiration, few are getting close to matching the numbers he continues to post.
The Portugal international is the Red Devils’ top scorer this season on 19 efforts in all competitions, with Marcus Rashford next on that list with 16.
Fernandes also edges out Rashford when it comes to assists, 12 to 11, to further underline his value to the cause.
No other player in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad has reached double figures in either department in 2020-21, with Anthony Martial managing seven goals of his own while teeing up eight more for his team-mates.
Edinson Cavani and Scott McTominay have each found the target on seven occasions apiece, while rejuvenated left-back Luke Shaw sits fourth on the creativity chart with six assists to his name.