EPL

Fernandes has no issues playing with Man Utd and Portugal team-mate Ronaldo

By Sports Desk September 20, 2022

Bruno Fernandes has refuted suggestions he and Cristiano Ronaldo cannot play together effectively, as the Manchester United duo prepare to link up for Portugal in the international break. 

Both Fernandes and Ronaldo have been named in Fernando Santos' squad for Nations League fixtures against the Czech Republic and Spain this month.

While Fernandes has been an ever-present for United at the start of their Premier League campaign, Ronaldo has not started a league game since a 4-0 defeat at Brentford last month, and is yet to find the net on the domestic front this season.

United have won four consecutive league games with Ronaldo on the bench, and the legendary forward's 2021 transfer from Juventus led to a significant drop-off in Fernandes' attacking output.

Fernandes scored 18 Premier League goals and provided 12 assists during his final full season before Ronaldo's arrival, but managed just 10 goals and six assists last term.

However, the midfielder does not believe Ronaldo's presence has inhibited him, telling the Athletic: "Most of my assists last season were for him, so I don't think [it is fair].

"I just had a poor season in terms of my own numbers. I don't think it is about Cristiano or myself.

"I don't think it is because of Cristiano, it is because I didn't do the best myself in some moments to get goals or assists.

"In the national team, I play with him and when I score, he is on the pitch. To play with Cristiano as a number 10 is actually really good because players respect Cristiano so much that it creates more space, as the opponents are afraid of him taking the ball and scoring.

"I played the last four Premier League games without Cristiano starting and I scored only one goal. So it is not because of Cristiano.

"Obviously he can be really good to play together with, for someone who gives assists, as if you give him the right ball, he will score goals."

Portugal sit one point behind Spain at the top of Nations League Group A2 ahead of their final two matches of the campaign, as the 2018-19 champions bid for a return to the competition's finals. 

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