Bruno Fernandes has responded to critics who claim he hasn’t done enough in the big games this season.
Fernandes joined Manchester United in the January transfer window of 2020. Since then, he has been an absolute sensation, scoring 23 and assisting 17 in 41 Premier League appearances.
However, the Portuguese playmaker has come under fire for his performances against the ‘Big Six’.
He has faced Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur 13 times in all competitions since coming to England and is yet to record a goal or an assist from open play.
This has led to accusations that the 26-year-old can’t handle the pressure of the big games.
This weekend, he has an opportunity to silence the doubters against an in-form City side. Pep Guardiola’s men are the runaway leaders of the Premier League, winning 21 games in a row in all competitions.
Ahead of the derby, Fernandes has been speaking to Sky Sports about the criticism he has faced.
“I don’t know what people mean when they say ‘top six’ because of the teams who are top six in the table (Man City, Leicester City, Chelsea, Everton, West Ham United),” he said.
“I have scored and assisted against some of them. I scored this season against Tottenham, but people say penalties don’t count.
“If people want to look at the stats in the last few games against the big teams, my passing accuracy was good.
“I agree that the last two games I didn’t play well. I know that, and I don’t need to see the stats to see if I play well or not. I know when I play well or not.”
Fernandes’ record against the Premier League’s current top six is more promising. Against Leicester, he bagged a goal and an assist in a 2-2 draw, while he scored a brace and got an assist for Edinson Cavani at Goodison Park in a 3-1 victory.
In the reverse fixture against Everton, he netted a stunning effort in the 3-3 draw at Old Trafford, while he assisted Paul Pogba in the 3-1 win over West Ham back in December. All of these goal contributions came from open play.
Meanwhile, Man Utd fans have defended Fernandes’ record against the ‘Big Six’, noting that nobody else in their side has netted a goal against one of these sides in the league this season.
The Red Devils have drawn five of their clashes against the ‘Big Six’ 0-0, while they have suffered home defeats to Tottenham and Arsenal 6-1 and 1-0 respectively.
A win for United on Sunday will keep them in second place, while a City triumph will take them 17 points clear of the Red Devils.
Check out our predicted line-up for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side against Man City on Sunday.