Louis Saha has defended Bruno Fernandes’ record in against the ‘big six’ and insisted other Manchester United players need to step up for the Red Devils in the bigger clashes.
And the former Red Devils star also settled the Fernandes vs Kevin de Bruyne debate, ahead of another crunch Manchester derby this weekend.
Fernandes has been a standout performer for United this season, totting up 15 goals and ten assists in United’s 27 Premier League games.
He has been sensational ever since his £56million switch from Sporting Lisbon last January, having been involved in 40 goals in 41 games, scoring 23 times, while adding a further 17 assists.
However, he has come under criticism for scoring just one goal [a penalty] and recording zero assists in seven league games against the Premier League’s ‘big six’ this season.
And Saha believes the bigger sides have worked out ways to ‘disrupt’ the rhythm of Fernandes, calling for his Red Devils teammates to up their efforts to help him.
Asked if Fernandes needs to do more in big games, Saha told talkSPORT.com: “No. Everybody needs to step up. Everyone has their favourite side. When you play a big side you have to step up as a team.
“It’s not just about Bruno Fernandes or [Marcus] Rashford, or whoever.
“You need to actually lead by example and be a team and this is when you win these games. Asking one or two players in particular to do the job is not relevant.
“Of course on a personal level, they will want to score but in the big games especially they need to be helped by the other players.
“The big sides will find a way to disrupt the big players like Bruno or [Paul] Pogba. You need others to step up and do the distraction as well to allow the space for those guys to express themselves.”
Fernandes’ performances have been so good that he has been compared to Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne since his arrival at United.
And Saha says on current form he’d rather have the Portugal man in his XI as he has a cleaner injury record and ‘scores goals for fun’.
Asked who he’d rather have in his side ahead of the Manchester derby this Sunday, Saha said: “On current form I think Bruno Fernandes. He hasn’t been injured and he’s playing every game and scoring goals for fun.
“Of course, De Bruyne has been fantastic consistently for the last two years but Fernandes has been more effective as he’s not missed any games.”
Louis Saha was speaking to William Hill. Check out the latest football odds at William Hill