Former Arsenal striker Kevin Campbell has suggested that Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes’ dip in form is not due to Cristiano Ronaldo’s presence.
Following his move to Manchester United in 2020 from Sporting CP, Fernandes made an immediate impact at the club. The Portugal international became a shining light during tough times for his club but his form has been on the wane since the start of last season.
Fernandes scored 40 goals and provided 25 assists in his first 80 games for the Red Devils but has had just 26 goal contributions in his last 54 games.
Interestingly, Fernandes has experienced a dip in his form following the arrival of Ronaldo from Juventus last summer.
However, Campbell doesn’t believe the five-time Ballon d’Or winner is responsible for his compatriot’s struggles.
He told Football Insider:
“Look, again, sometimes a player might not think it is but the stats might say something different.” The player, obviously, in his head, it’s nothing to do with Ronaldo, it’s just maybe the way the team functions when Ronaldo is there or isn’t there.”
“It’s very difficult to blame somebody like Ronaldo, especially when you look at last season when he saved Man United so many times. It’s very difficult to look at it and say ‘He’s the one to blame’.”
Campbell has made it clear that it is unfair to blame Ronaldo for Fernandes’ dip in form. The Arsenal icon has claimed that it is about Manchester United’s playing style with and without their talismanic forward. He added:
“No, sometimes, you look at yourself first and how the team functions. Sometimes, the team haven’t functioned well enough with Ronaldo in it. When he’s not there, the team seems to function in a different way and he gets better performances. It’s not Ronaldo’s fault, it’s just the way things go sometimes.”
The former Real Madrid man was the club’s highest goalscorer last season with 24 goals in 38 matches in all competitions.
Cristiano Ronaldo has fallen down the pecking order at Manchester United
Ronaldo has started just three games for Manchester United this season in all competitions so far. He seems to be behind Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial in the pecking order under Erik ten Hag.
The Portugal captain has scored just once so far this season, from the spot in the Red Devils’ 2-0 against FC Sheriff in the UEFA Europa League.
At the age of 37, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner clearly does not have the legs to fit in Ten Hag’s system, which requires a lot of pressing from his forwards.
However, he could still play a key role for Manchester United with his immense experience and world-class goalscoring ability.