Manchester United are out of the 2021/22 Champions League.
Ralf Rangnick’s side were defeated 1-0 by Atletico Madrid at Old Trafford on Tuesday evening, a result which saw the Red Devils lose their last-16 tie 2-1 on aggregate.
Renan Lodi’s first half header was enough to secure victory for Diego Simeone’s troops and it was yet another night to forget for United.
The aggregate score over the course of two legs flattered the Premier League outfit if anything.
In the first meeting at the Wanda Metropolitano, United were outplayed from start to finish and it was a minor miracle that they emerged with a 1-1 draw thanks to Anthony Elanga’s late goal.
And in Tuesday’s encounter, Rangnick’s side were toothless in attack throughout the entirety of the second half.
Since moving to Old Trafford, Fernandes has racked up some seriously impressive numbers. Among United players, he ranks first in terms of goals, assists and chances created.
But while his stats are very eye-catching indeed, the former Sporting Lisbon man has a number of flaws, most notably a tendency to surrender possession a significant amount times during a match.
In fact, over the course of the two legs against Atletico, Fernandes lost possession a staggering 39 times.
That resulted in United struggling to build momentum in forward areas, as the man tasked with being the creator-in-chief simply could not hold on to the ball.
One football fan on Twitter has created a compilation that features all 39 times in which Fernandes lost possession and the footage is rather damning from a United perspective.
Take a look for yourself…
Video: Fernandes’ shocker for Man Utd vs Atletico
Bruno Fernandes Possession Lost (39) vs Atleticopic.twitter.com/TCmANmYRIa— Cigano 🇵🇹 (@RealQuaresma) March 16, 2022
No.10s never work consistently at United but Fernandes is the worst I've seen.
People point to his stat-padding to say he's a top player. He has great moments, but I've never seen any top player give the ball away so cheaply & so often as he has ever since he came to United.— RP (@_RP_77) March 16, 2022
That’s not a great look for a number 10, is it? You would never see the likes of Kevin De Bruyne or Mason Mount produce two performances like that.
So it begs the question; is Fernandes starting to become a problem for United? After all, the team produced one of their best performances of the season versus Tottenham Hotspur when he was absent…
The evidence above suggests he is certainly becoming a bit of an issue, particularly in big games when holding onto possession is even more crucial.
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But on the flip side, Fernandes’ goal numbers are arguably the best among playmakers operating at the very highest level right now and they cannot be ignored.
And it can be argued that the reason the Portugal international loses the ball so much is because he’s far more of a risk taker.
However, against Atletico, there’s no denying that Fernandes surrendered possession cheaply on a number of occasions, rather than from an attempted long ball or defence-splitting pass.
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It’s now down to Rangnick to try and find ways in which the team can avoid Fernandes’ flaws being exposed to the extent we’ve seen in recent times.