Manchester United striker Edinson Cavani must step up and help ease the burden on Bruno Fernandes’ shoulders, according to one pundit.
Fernandes has proved the catalyst for United‘s stronger form over the past 12 months.
Indeed, the 26-year-old has contributed to 33 goals in 30 Premier League games since his arrival from Sporting. However, he has also showed excellent reliability, rarely missing a game through his own doing.
As such, United have yet to face and deal with his absence – as rivals Liverpool have done with Virgil van Dijk and a host of other stars.
Speaking to Eurosport, former Red Devils defender Paul Parker outlined the fear over a Fernandes injury.
“It’s the strength and the presence of Bruno Fernandes that’s making the difference for Manchester United,” he said.
“Even with how much everyone thought of Eric Cantona and what he did, and they still talk about how great he was at the time, people didn’t look at Manchester United as a one-man team like they do at the moment.
“United fans are fearful of Fernandes being unavailable for a few games because they have made themselves too reliant on one player to pull the strings in every attacking move they have. We saw that in the Wolves game and they defended against him very well.
“What United need is someone else on the park at the same time as him, not someone else to come in when he’s injured, and to take defenders away from him.
“When Eric Cantona was on the pitch, his presence helped other players into making attacks so there was more than one attacking thrust. This Manchester United team struggle with that.”
As such, Parker called on Cavani to continue to make an impact.
Cavani urged to keep impressing
“You don’t want to go out and spend in the current situation,” Parker added.
“You’ve got Edinson Cavani – use him. He’s the best centre-forward they’ve got in this moment in time at the club, so try and make him a presence like they did with Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
“The difference, which Zlatan could not do when he was at United, is Cavani will make a run for Fernandes to find him with a pass, or will be able to see where Fernandes should be making a run and will make that pass.
“It’s all about creating space and that is what he will do. Anthony Martial won’t make a run to make something happen so there’s a big difference between the two strikers. Cavani has to play.”
Cavani is available again ahead of Tuesday’s clash with Burnley after serving a three-match ban. Indeed, the Red Devils can go top of the table above Liverpool with at least a draw against the Clarets.