Jamie O’Hara has questioned why Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes escapes criticism when he plays poorly, while teammate Paul Pogba is routinely hammered by fans and pundits.
There’s little doubt Fernandes has lit up the Premier League since his arrival from Sporting CP last January, but he has been accused of ‘going missing’ in big games.
Fernandes doesn’t get the criticism he sometimes deserves, believes Jamie O’HaraGetty Images – Getty
And O’Hara says the Portuguese has to start doing more than just scoring penalties after his quiet outing in Sunday’s huge top-of-the-table clash against Liverpool.
Fernandes produced one of United’s best goalscoring chances late in the second-half as he was denied by Reds goalkeeper Alisson, but otherwise had a poor game in the 0-0 stalemate – leading to criticism from Roy Keane who said he ‘didn’t really do anything’.
It’s not the first time Fernandes has been accused of shying away against the top sides, having been uncharacteristically quiet in United’s Carabao Cup defeat to Manchester City earlier this month.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has also hinted at his frustrations with the midfielder after the 2-2 draw with Leicester City on Boxing Day, admitting that Fernandes can make the boss ‘tear his hair out’.
The importance of Fernandes to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer cannot be underestimated, but the boss has admitted he can be frustrated by the midfielderGetty Images – Getty
And O’Hara can see why, saying that for all his brilliance in a Manchester United shirt – he has 27 goals and 17 assists in 49 games for the club – he gives the ball away far too often and doesn’t deliver when it matters.
Speaking on Monday’s talkSPORT Breakfast, the former Tottenham midfielder said: “Bruno Fernandes gets built up massively, everyone talks about him being this brilliant player and he is – he’s been fantastic for Man United.
“But in the last few weeks when I’ve watched him against the big clubs, Liverpool and Man City, he’s been poor.
“The standard of his passing… Ole Gunnar Solskjaer did a little interview where he says Fernandes ‘frustrates him’, and I can actually see that because he gets in great positions sometimes but he gives the ball away for fun!
Fernandes failed to have a significant impact at Anfield and was substituted in the 89th minuteAFP
“Everyone slaughters Paul Pogba, people give him a hard time, people give Harry Maguire a hard time, I think Scott McTominay was absolutely fantastic for Man United against Liverpool and Luke Shaw.
“But Bruno Fernandes, I’m looking at his performance thinking, ‘come on, you can score loads of penalties but in those big moments if you want to win the league you need to step up a bit more’.
“He’s been going missing in these big games.
“I’m not saying he’s not been absolutely fantastic for them, but if you want to be a team that wins the Premier League, you have to produce in those big games.
“Even if it’s just one pass or one piece of magic, Fernandes needs to do that on those moments, because he got the ball in so many great areas yesterday and he just kept giving it away – it was so frustrating.
“That’s the difference between him and a player like Kevin De Bruyne, who you know will turn up in every single game.”
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