Man Utd's Bruno Fernandes showed superb effort vs Sheffield United amid Martial criticism

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Manchester United were dealt a crushing blow to their Premier League title hopes on Wednesday.

The Red Devils could justifiably be accused of taking their eye off the ball when lining up against a Sheffield United team rooted to the bottom of the table with just one win from 19 games.

And the Blades doubled their league victories for the season with a surprise 2-1 win at Old Trafford, catching their hosts off guard with goals from Kean Bryan and Oliver Burke.

Man Utd 1-2 Sheffield United

United had equalised through a fine header from Harry Maguire and were unlucky to have a goal by Anthony Martial chalked off, but the Blades were ultimately good money for their victory.

As a result, real questions are starting to be asked about United's credentials when it comes to competing with the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool for their first league title in 2013.

Besides, there weren't many United stars who could honestly look themselves in the mirror after the 2-1 defeat and say that they gave the best possible account of themselves.

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Martial's effort criticised

And one player who came in for particular criticism during the defeat was Martial, who hardly covered himself in glory during the move that culminated in Burke's deflected winner.

While only Martial can explain exactly why he seemed so unenergetic throughout the phase of play, you can understand why United fans were tearing their hair out as the Blades passed around him.

As a result, Martial needs to take a leaf out of Bruno Fernandes' book.

United's star man by no means produced a strong performance against Chris Wilder's men, but his effort, unlike Martial, most certainly couldn't be questioned - and there's video evidence to prove it.

Fernandes' epic tracking back

In fact, footage of Fernandes showing remarkable effort to retrieve the ball just minutes before Martial's shenanigans and Sheffield United's winner has gone viral on United's Reddit page.

The caption says it all: "The difference of "playing bad and working hard" and just "playing bad" in today's game between Bruno and Martial." Check out the footage in question down below:

How awkward that it's Martial who concedes possession...

Man Utd fans expect effort

Look, we're not pretending as though this is an identical comparison because if your number nine was tracking back like this every ten seconds, then you'd be in serious trouble.

Rather, the point being made here is that Martial - who is valued at £49.5 million - showing just 50% of the effort that Fernandes displayed in the footage above would at least have made life harder for the Blades.

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It's impossible to say whether that would prevent Burke from scoring and secure a result for United, but surely Martial should have dug as deep as possible on the off chance that it might.

If nothing else, though, it goes to show that United fans don't expect a 10/10 performance from every player in every game, but they do expect 100% effort as a bare minimum.

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