Luke Shaw continues to be left stunned by the “unbelievable” output of Manchester United team-mate Bruno Fernandes, with the Portuguese able to make important contributions even when performing well below his best.
The Red Devils talisman is considered to have had a relatively quiet game by his standards in a recent Europa League clash with Real Sociedad, but he still found the target on two occasions in an important 4-0 win.
Fernandes has found the target on 34 occasions through 61 appearances, while contributing a further 21 assists to the collective cause, with his value and ability not lost on club colleague Shaw.
What has been said?
The United full-back told Adidas of his working relationship with Fernandes and the admiration he has for the talented 26-year-old: “We do talk a bit, but honestly the guy's numbers are unbelievable, what he's doing and how he's doing it.
“I said to him 'Bruno, I'll be honest, you weren't great [against Real Sociedad] but you scored two goals. I just don't know how you do it!'
“I think people in football understand the game and how important that player is, who doesn't get many assists or goals, but a lot of the outside world is all about stats. It's understandable because they watch it and they want to see those things, but you've just got to deal with it.”
Shaw’s stats for 2020-21
While enjoying watching and working with Fernandes, Shaw is eager to become another reliable source of end product for United.
His priority as a left-back is to keep opponents at bay, but he has six assists of his own this season through 30 appearances in all competitions.
The England international has added on his desire to get forward more: “I think a lot of people are thinking that I was holding back, but I knew what I could do and I'm feeling good with creating stuff. Obviously my target with each game is to win the game for the team, whatever I can do.
“Now I'm loving going forward and creating for the team. I haven't been able to talk about something like this and be sort of praised for stuff like this.
“I think people hopefully are starting to realise I'm helping the team out more, which is a nice confidence boost.”
The bigger picture
Positive progress under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in 2020-21 has United sat second in the Premier League table, while also progressing to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup and last 16 of the Europa League.
They have plenty to play for heading into the business end of the season, with a 20-game unbeaten run away from home set to be put on the line when the Red Devils return to top-flight action on Wednesday in a trip to Crystal Palace.
That fixture will lead United into a derby date with arch-rivals Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, with there an opportunity there for the Blues’ commanding lead at the summit to be cut.