Bruno Fernandes’ sustained attacking performance has been hailed by Rio Ferdinand, with the former Manchester United defender pointing out that only Lionel Messi has been more involved in goals since the Portuguese star joined the Red Devils.
Fernandes was instrumental in Man United’s 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest on Sunday, with Antony and Diogo Dalot scoring in the win.
Although Fernandes didn’t score or register an assist against Forest, he was praised for his vision and passing quality.
Ferdinand revealed on his YouTube show Vibe with Five that Fernandes was only behind Messi based on goal contributions as stats suggests when he signed for Man United in January 2020.
According to Ferdinand, Christian Eriksen’s return to full fitness will help Fernandes reach another level in the final weeks of the season.
Messi has been involved in 140 goals for his club since 2019 compared to 112 for Fernandes
“His passing, He creates opportunities,” Ferdinand said. “His stats, only Messi rivals him in terms of goal contributions since he signed for United.
“I’m not saying he’s at Messi’s level, nobody’s saying Bruno is at Messi’s level, he’s not, that’s obvious.
“But only Messi is above him in those stats.
“He needs [Christian] Eriksen to reach that other level. Eriksen how many simple passes he makes that are just great for his teammates.
According to Opta, Fernandes is one of only two players in Europe’s top five leagues to have achieved half a century of goals and assists for their club since joining Old Trafford.
Fernandes has scored 60 goals and provided 52 assists in 175 games for the club.
Messi stays top by hitting the net 81 times and scoring 59 goals for his teammates in the same period.
Injuries and suspensions have seen Fernandes play a bigger role in recent weeks.
The 28-year-old returned to his preferred tenth position against Forest after Eriksen came on as a late substitute when Sabitzer picked up the injury in the warm-up.
Eriksen made his first start since suffering an ankle injury in January.
The win over Nottingham Forest put the Red Devils one step closer to returning to the Champions League next season.
Man United are six points clear of fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur in the race for a place in the top four, with Ten Hag’s side also having a playing credit.