Man Utd legend Gary Neville raises serious Bruno Fernandes doubt ahead of Newcastle clash

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Manchester United legend Gary Neville has revealed he has serious doubts over Bruno Fernandes’ place in Ralf Rangnick’s starting XI. Fernandes has started both of Rangnick’s Premier League matches in charge ahead of the trip to Newcastle tonight. However, Neville has questioned whether the Portuguese star is suited to the German’s style of play.

United interim boss Rangnick has used a 4-2-2-2 formation during his tenure at Old Trafford so far.

Fernandes and Jadon Sancho have been used as the wide-attacking midfielders behind a front two of Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcus Rashford.

United haven’t played since the 1-0 win over Norwich on December 11.

Neville was not convinced with Fernandes’ display in that match and says both his and Sancho’s places are under threat.

The former England right-back would keep the rest of the starting XI the same from the wins over Norwich and Palace.

“The same back four, the same front two, the same midfield two,” Neville said on Sky Sports.

“The two positions that I’ve been looking at are the wide two, the two that come in to play, the sort of two behind.

“What I thought against Norwich was, and it was away from home, they really struggled to cope with the wide areas defensively.

“So Bruno Fernandes and Sancho come into the narrow positions in front of the two central midfield players, behind Rashford and Ronaldo, but they couldn’t quite get back out, particularly Bruno Fernandes.

“He’s not suited to running back towards his own goal. He’ll do it but as a right-sided midfield player, a left-sided midfield player, I’m not sure that he wants to do it. And that’s the only positions.

“I think you’ve somehow got to get Bruno in but I don’t know how you get him in in this 4-2-2-2, where you’re not going to get exposed away from home in those wide areas, where Newcastle’s full-backs go forward.

“So the only two positions that I think you could look at would be those two.”

United’s squad has been hit by a number of positive COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, which led to the closure of their Carrington training ground for a few days.

Speaking at his press conference last week, Rangnick explained how he and his staff have had to improvise to try and implement their methods.

“Well obviously during those four days we couldn’t do it,” the 63-year-old said.

“We did a lot of work in between together with my coaching staff who prepared some video footage and we have started to show this video footage to them on Tuesday, yesterday and also today (Thursday), and we will follow up on that tomorrow and on Sunday.

“It’s important that they really know what it is about and how we should play, to find the best possible balance of playing offensively and make use of the offensive players we have but at the same time be able to defend as a team and make sure that we get further clean sheets in the future.”


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