Manchester United’s hopes of securing qualification for the Champions League next season is all down to Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba, according to former Tottenham striker Darren Bent. Fernandes has continued his fine start at United since his £46.6million arrival from Sporting Lisbon in January. The Portugal international scored a brace in the 3-0 win at Brighton on Tuesday.
Fernandes has started to build a partnership with Pogba, who has featured in all five games since lockdown after recovering from the ankle injury that had kept him out of the majority of the campaign.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side sit fifth in the Premier League table, which could be enough to qualify for the Champions League pending Manchester City’s appeal against their two-year European ban imposed on them by UEFA.
United are unbeaten in their last 15 matches in all competitions but Bent says how they finish the season will largely be down to how Fernandes and Pogba perform.
“The obvious one [who has impressed me] is Bruno Fernandes and the impact he’s had on the squad, I think he’s been fantastic,” Bent told Premier League Productions.
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“Not only that as well, Pogba has kind of seen what Fernandes has been doing and it’s like he’s kind of said: ‘Well hold on, I’m a good player as well, you’re not going to forget about me’.
“So both of them in tandem have been fantastic.
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“[Anthony] Martial’s been good, scored a hat-trick, [Marcus] Rashford’s still trying to find his feet, [Mason] Greenwood, young kid, 18 years old, looks like he knows how to play the Manchester United way.
“So for me I think those two in the middle of the park, Pogba and Fernandes, I think however far Manchester United go this year, whether they get into the top four, it will be down to them two.”
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Meanwhile, legendary United striker Dwight Yorke has explained how Pogba has changed his game while playing alongside Fernandes.
“When it comes to Pogba, Pogba recognises now that he doesn’t need to do it all,” Yorke told Stadium Astro.
“Before, I think he needed to do it all at United because it was so frustrating at times watching.
“He felt like he needed to make a wonder-pass and I think now with Bruno coming in and hitting the ground running, not only can he score but he can create himself as well.
“So he doesn’t need to play those killer balls all the time and I think that’s relieved him to recognise sometimes I can do it simple.”
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