Bruno responds to claims his form dips when Ronaldo is in Man United team


Manchester United ace Bruno Fernandes has played down suggestions that his drop off in form last season was caused by playing alongside Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ronaldo, who scored his first goal of the season in United’s 2-0 win over FC Sheriff in the Europa League last week, returned to Old Trafford from Juventus last summer. Despite the Reds’ collective struggles last season, the 37-year-old netted an impressive 24 goals in all competitions.

Fernandes, by contrast, scored an underwhelming ten goals in comparison to the 28 he netted during the 2020/21 campaign. His dip in form was, in the eyes of some people, as a result of playing alongside Ronaldo.

This season, the duo have started a Premier League game together just once, with Ronaldo being forced to play a patient game by manager Erik ten Hag. Fernandes has looked sharper and has been more involved in recent weeks, but he does not believe that is as a result of Ronaldo not playing regularly.

“Most of my assists last season were for him, so I don’t think [that it’s fair],” Fernandes told The Athletic. “I just had a poor season in terms of my own numbers. I don’t think it is about Cristiano or myself.

“Before he came, I was also taking the penalties, but I had two chances to take the penalties last season and I missed both. So I cannot blame Cristiano for taking penalties, especially when he scores them.

“When I missed against Arsenal in April, it was him who gave me the ball and said, ‘Go yourself and score’. I missed but I felt that he trusted me to be the one to step up and score in the big moment. So I don’t think it is because of Cristiano, it is because I didn’t do the best in myself in some moments to get goals or assists.

“In the national team, I play with him and when I score, he is on the pitch. To play with Cristiano as a No.10 is actually really good because players respect Cristiano so much that it creates more space, as the opponents are afraid of him taking the ball and scoring.

“They want to mark him and [the opposition] create an overload where he is to mark him. For example, when I scored two goals against North Macedonia [in March], one was from his assist and the other was from his run which created the space behind him for me to score.

“I played the last four Premier League games without Cristiano starting and I scored only one goal. So it is not because of Cristiano.

“It is about momentum, timing. Sometimes it goes in a bad way and sometimes a better way. Obviously he can be really good to play together with, for someone who gives assists, as if you give him the right ball, he will score goals.”


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