Two Manchester United players have been included in BBC Sport’s team of the week following this weekend’s 1-0 win against West Ham.
Pandit Garth Crooks picked two United players, jointly highest, with Liverpool and Chelsea picking two players each.
He selected winning goalscorer Marcus Rashford, who came on as a second-half substitute, along with midfield maestro Bruno Fernandes.
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Crooks credits Fernandes with United’s recent improvement. He said: “The player at the heart of this mini-renaissance is Bruno Fernandes. He was brilliant at Villa Park, outstanding against Brentford and at the center of everything that mattered against West Ham.
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Fernandes is United’s top scorer with 18 goals (7 goals and 11 assists). He created four chances against West Ham, more than any other player on the pitch and more than West Ham’s team combined (3).
Improved form for Fernandes comes from a tactical change from Ralf Rangnick that places him in a deeper role, a number 8 as opposed to a 10, allowing him to become more involved in the build-up game and help the team.
Speaking of Marcus Rashford, who has ended an 11-game streak without a goal to score twice in his last two games, Crooks praised his attitude.
He said: “Rashford came on as a substitute against Brentford and West Ham this week and his attitude was just superb. In both games he quickly finished the games within minutes of his arrival.”
Rashford’s brittle confidence has been restored thanks to his goals in those back-to-back games. It was vital goals that helped United win for the first time since early December.
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The international break comes at a time when United are back on track. In contrast to the breaks in October and November, when the players were miserable at the breaks, the pressure is a little off after these results.
United will look to continue the momentum when games resume, starting with the FA Cup game with Middlesbrough next.
First there is a transfer deadline to be overcome and whilst there are unlikely to be any arrivals there are several players who could leave the club and it will be interesting to see which of these fringe players remain on February 1st.
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