Former Sporting Lisbon manager Carlos Carvalhal has said Bruno Fernandes is not a number 10 and should play as a box-to-box midfielder for Manchester United instead.
Fernandes arrived from Lisbon in January with the expectation of being United’s creative force in midfield in the absence of Paul Pogba.
Is Fernandes a number 10? Five things to know…
- Fernandes’ output in Portugal was nothing short of sensational.
- He managed 20 goals and 13 assists in the 2018/19 season in 33 appearances…
- …before adding another 15 goal contributions in the first half of this campaign.
- He had more shots and more touches than anyone else on his United debut.
- He is expected to be played just behind the striker.
Fernandes impressed on his United debut against Wolves – despite not contributing in the goals/assists department, he certainly looked like a live-wire on the ball.
He will have to try and fill the boots of Paul Pogba while the World Cup winner is out injured (and perhaps if he leaves in the summer) as the main supplier to Rashford and co.
Many thought that Fernandes was a number 10, but ex-Sporting and Swansea City boss Carvalhal has insisted that he is better playing slightly deeper.
Carvalhal, who now manages Rio Ave in Portugal, told Sky Sports: “He (Fernandes) is not a number 10. He is a midfielder but he has developed that ability to break the line of the defence to score goals.
“He shoots, he assists, the passes and the free-kicks. But he is not a 10, he is an 8. He is a box-to-box player who understands very well the game. He doesn’t just play. He understands everything that happens around him.
“He can organise the team, he can talk, he can give feedback.. He is kind of like a manager on the pitch. He can organise things in the last part of the pitch. He is a really exciting player.”
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Is Bruno what Solskjaer needs?
It’s no secret that the Red Devils are in a transitional period at the moment. They are currently eighth in the league, six points behind Chelsea in sixth and even four points behind newly-promoted Sheffield United – although they have a game in hand over the Blades.
The Fernandes transfer saga dragged out for the entirety of last summer and it had even been reported that United had given up their pursuit of the Portuguese midfielder. However, interest from Barcelona seemed to push Ed Woodward in the right direction and they ended up getting their man.
United have hardly excelled in front of goal this season, heavily relying on Marcus Rashford to come up with the goods – he has scored roughly a third of his team’s league goals this season. While the signing of Fernandes will certainly help lift that burden and go some way to solving the problems, he is not the only man who can drag United out of the hole they are in.