Bruno Fernandes always knew he was going to have Paul Pogba’s support in midfield at Manchester United.
After the Portuguese playmaker arrived last January, Red Devils fans were excited about the prospect of him partnering Pogba in the middle of the park.
But the Frenchman’s ankle injury and lengthy recovery following surgery delayed them from beginning work together, as did the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
This season, though, United fans are really starting to see glimpses of what the pair can do together at Old Trafford.
Their combination play has led to a more fluid United attack, which has been more potent in front of goal.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ’s side have subsequently climbed to second in the table and will leapfrog Liverpool into top spot if they get at least a draw at Burnley on Tuesday.
While quotes from Pogba’s agent Mino Raiola in late 2020 indicated the World Cup winner’s time at Old Trafford was likely limited, the player has shown on the pitch he remains dedicated to the cause.
And his committment to Fernandes, especially off the pitch, has helped the 26-year-old make the impact he has on the team.
"The relationship I have with Paul is good," Fernandes told NBC Sport . "He speaks Italian and I speak Italian, from the beginning I knew him from Italy and he knows me. It was easy to work with him.
"Straight away when I arrived, he was injured. I saw him recovering and training on the pitch away from us.
"He was calling me sometimes when I was training and he said: 'I'm seeing the games, I'm seeing your movement, don't worry. When I'm fit, I will show you that I can find you. I see you move, you move to the right and to the left, in behind. When I come back, I will show you how I can find you a lot.'
"It shows you the confidence he gives to you, like when he comes back, he's trying to help you become better and you help him to become better."
Fernandes may well be given a much-needed breather for United’s FA Cup third-round tie this evening.
The Red Devils host Championship side Watford, and Solskjaer is expected to ring the changes in the midst of a busy period for his players.
United lost their Carabao Cup semi-final 2-0 at home to Manchester City on Wednesday, and their rearranged Premier League clash with Burnley follows today’s game on Tuesday.
Next weekend is arguably their biggest game of the season too against Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool at Anfield, where a win could put them six points clear at the summit.
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