BBC Sport pundit declares Man United star Bruno Fernandes is 'back to his best'
Garth Crooks singles out Bruno Fernandes for special praise after his two-goal haul for Man United against Aston Villa
Bruno Fernandes’ impressive performance for Manchester United against Aston Villa showed that the playmaker is “back to his best”, according to BBC Sport pundit Garth Crooks.
Fernandes scored both of Manchester United’s goals at Villa Park on Saturday night to put the Red Devils 2-0 up before they were pegged back and held to a frustrating 2-2 draw by Steven Gerrard’s side.
The 27-year-old playmaker has now scored seven goals and made three assists in 19 Premier League games for Manchester United this season and he has been a regular fixture in the first team under interim boss Ralf Rangnick.
Former Tottenham star Crooks has now stated his belief that the playmaker has rediscovered his best form for the Red Devils as they target a top-four finish in the Premier League this season.
Picking Fernandes in his team of the week and writing in his BBC Sport column, Crooks said: “His first goal was fortuitous but his second was beautiful. The move and the finish was just brilliant by Fernandes.
“This was the best hour of football I’ve seen from Manchester United for some time and a performance conspicuous by Cristiano Ronaldo’s absence. Edinson Cavani seems a much better fit up front and Fernandes looked back to his best.
“Ralf Rangnick may have found a formula he can build on, but whether he has the bottle to leave Ronaldo out of the side in order to do it remains to be seen.”
Crooks also stated his belief that Cristiano Ronaldo needs to improve his attitude at Old Trafford to help lift his team-mates.
The Portugal international missed the clash against Aston Villa due to a hip problem, with the forward not having featured since 1-0 defeat by Wolves on 3 January.
Crooks feels that Ronaldo needs to help galvanise his team-mates by improving his attitude in the remainder of the campaign.
“Ever since he returned to Old Trafford the Portuguese international has behaved like a prima donna,” said Crooks. “He may be the star of the show but the constant waving of his hands in the air when events don’t go his way – a sign that the crowd’s moans and groans regarding United’s failures are all down to his team-mates and nothing to do with him – is irritating.
“I expect better from a player of his calibre. Scoring goals and looking good isn’t what the game is all about. The game is nothing if it’s not about the team.
“Ronaldo always looks immaculate on the pitch but sometimes, especially when things are going badly, he has to get among the muck and nettles in order to pull his team through difficult periods.
“Ronaldo no longer plays for Real Madrid or Juventus – teams who were winning titles and lifting trophies effortlessly. He’s playing for Manchester United, a team with an enormous reputation but struggling. His team-mates are not just looking to him to score goals but for leadership.”