Manchester United reportedly have growing fatigue concerns over Bruno Fernandes after the midfielder was hauled off in Portugal’s 0-0 draw with Republic of Ireland.
Fernandes and his United team-mate, Cristiano Ronaldo, once again failed to find a harmonious partnership on the pitch, which is also evident for the Red Devils.
Portugal limped to a goalless draw in their World Cup qualifier away to Ireland on Thursday.
Ronaldo and Fernandes both started the game, although it was only the former who finished it as the home side claimed a famous result against the Euro 2016 champions.
Similar troubles have been noticeable under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with Fernandes’ goal-scoring exploits tailing off dramatically since last season.
A staggering 28-goal total in all competitions has been followed up with just four so far this campaign, while Ronaldo continues to add to his tally since making the switch from Juventus.
Many had hoped that the compatriots could build a fruitful playing relationship at United, given Ronaldo was allegedly something of a teenage hero for Fernandes.
However, the warning signs were there during Euro 2020 when the midfielder was dropped in favour of Renato Sanches due to his underwhelming displays.
According to The Athletic, there are now ‘nagging concerns’ that Fernandes is running on empty after playing a huge amount of football over the past 18 months.
Since the start of last season, he has notched 94 appearances for club and country as United regularly call on him for game-changing moments.
That could now be taking its toll, with the Red Devils stumbling to a series of poor results in recent weeks which has put Solskjaer under serious pressure.
Although a pair of respectable games were situated in-between, Liverpool’s 5-0 massacre at Old Trafford was followed not long afterwards by a dominant 2-0 Manchester City display.
Players like Fernandes and Ronaldo will undoubtedly be relied upon if the Norwegian is to restore faith in his managerial credentials.
Solskjaer may have to find another route to success, however, with Fernandes’ fatigue going against one of his wishes after the Man City defeat.
“I’m sure when we come back [from the international break] the players will be fresh and the demands will be high but we need to get back to what we were for a while and we have the players to do that,” said the manager.
“We’ve been through this a few times and since the last home game it’s been a very difficult period. Systems or style we need to be on the front foot more.
“I can’t look at myself and say this is how I want United to be.
“I have good communication with the club. I want the best for United and as long as I’m here I want to do everything I can to improve this.”