The connection between Manchester United’s Portuguese duo is expected to grow, but the pair are struggling to coexist in Ralf Rangnick’s team as they battle for a leading role
Video not available
Ralf Rangnick can only look in despair like From Manchester United goalless draw Watford deal a blow to their top four hopes. But there’s a moment involved Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes which can be shown to be just as damaging.
The home side did everything but scored in the first half, where they overwhelmed Watford and kept the visitors back in their first half. Ronaldo had his own chances, finishing on target early before his effort was missed due to offside.
The Portuguese superstar was a constant threat throughout the first half, and appeared to be in good shape to open an account in the afternoon when Fernandes was conceded by Anthony Elanga.
Few can blame Fernandes for wanting to attack on goal, having the time and space to choose his position. But he must have spotted Ronaldo 10 yards away from him, waiting to kick the ball into an empty net.
The playmaker hit the target instead and Ben Foster survived, making a superb right-handed save. Both Rangnick and Ronaldo were unbelievable.
Ronaldo’s reaction was not typical of a man of his age or experience, waving his arms in exasperation and hurling harsh words at his teammates, but the frustration was understandable.
After the game, Rangnick suggested his players couldn’t find the net and mentioned Fernandes’ chances in his post-match interview as an example of their rudeness.
“Five big chances in the first half, three chances in the second half,” he said in his post-match interview.
“Sometimes we were unlucky like when Cristiano Ronaldo hit the post but we had unique opportunities. This is not luck, this is sharp, effective, and clinical. “
“That is [frustrating]We did everything besides scoring. [It is] hard to get that result. We were in complete control for almost the entire game. ”
This is the result of a clash between two players with individual football mindsets who want to prove they are the driving force of Man United. In fact, it has been threatening to happen for a while.
Let’s say yours! Should Manchester United allow Cristiano Ronaldo to leave in the summer? Comment below.
Ronaldo’s answer speaks volumes about a player desperate to score as he struggles to deal with the idea that his strength is waning.
He is the club’s top scorer with 15 in all competitions, although he ended a six-match streak without a goal with a counter-attack. Brighton, his worst run in over a decade. Every time he had the ball, there was a sense of heavy pressure on his muscular shoulders – that he had to be the hero.
That said, he is not alone responsible for United’s dull attack. Fernandes would know he should pass the ball, but his refusal shows he also has a complicated ego to overcome.
When he was signed from Sporting Lisbon in January 2020 for £46.5m, United called for a player with his creative talent. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer assigned Fernandes to star as their No 10 and responded with 40 goals in his first 80 appearances.
Fernandes is often called upon to rescue United by saving them with a moment of brilliance, be it a deft pass to assist one of his teammates or a trademark long shot.
But since Ronaldo’s arrival in the summer, the focus on his role in the team has diminished. His influence has been limited and the stats prove it, with nine goals in 35 appearances.
Ronaldo is the main attraction, the penalty taker, the coordination expert and the man everyone turns to when United are looking for a goal or equalizer.
And there’s good reason for that – the 37-year-old has scored over 800 goals in his illustrious career and won five. Champions League titles. Not many players have his record of winning a silver cup almost with one hand.
However, there is a school of thought that argues that their healthy relationship within the Portuguese national team will lead to an even stronger partnership at club level. Indeed, Fernandes has spoken of his happiness upon hearing the news of Ronaldo joining him at Old Trafford.
He previously said: “Everybody knows what Cristiano Ronaldo has brought to the club and we are really happy to have him.
“The most important thing, as he would say, is the team. Good players can always play well together.”
However, things simply did not work out that way with Man United. Except for two memorable attacks against Young Boys and TottenhamThe pair tried to combine to create magic that they could seemingly summon at any given moment.
Man United are facing the possibility of finishing outside the top 4, along with 3 other teams – ArsenalTottenham and West Ham – well positioned to battle them for their ticket to the final Champions League qualifiers.
Such a prospect would be devastating for the club, given the embarrassment of the wealth of attacking talent they possess. Ronaldo, Fernandes and Jadon Sancho did not move to the red half of Manchester to kick the Europa League.
Ronaldo has hinted that he may decide to leave if the club cannot guarantee that they will challenge for the silver title, a surprising admission given his current troubles on the pitch. However, that may be the only solution if Fernandes stays at the club beyond this summer, which is likely due to his long and happy contract at Manchester.
Meanwhile, Rangnick has to come up with a plan to get them working together without headers at least until the end of the season.
Without that, the pair are more likely to fall apart and United will continue to experience more disappointment as they did against Watford – which could cost them a spot in the club-level competition. Europe’s leading set.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/cristiano-ronaldo-bruno-fernandes-manutd-26341756 Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes fight for the role Man Utd could lose hope in the top four