Nani has questioned whether Paul Pogba has his ‘full concentration’ on Manchester United and believes the immediate impact Bruno Fernandes made at Old Trafford will not have been easy for the France midfielder.
Fernandes had a rare off night as Crystal Palace put another sizeable dent in United’s title hopes in a drab goalless draw at Selhurst Park on Wednesday, with club legend Gary Neville branding his performance ‘sloppy’.
But the 26-year-old has racked up 15 goals and ten assists across an outstanding individual campaign and has been United’s talisman and go-to man on so many occasions since arriving from Sporting just over a year ago.
There were signs a devastating partnership could be brewing as Fernandes and Pogba shone together in the same midfield with the Red Devils sitting top of the table earlier this term, before the Frenchman’s injury.
However, former United winger Nani reckons another player coming in and stealing the limelight midway through last season will, at first, have been tough for Pogba’s ego.
‘There are different [types of] players on the field – you have Bruno Fernandes, a smarter attacking player, and Pogba who can do a little bit of both [attacking and defending],’ Nani told Stats Perform News.
‘Pogba can handle the game a bit for Bruno to go a little bit up [the pitch]. They have to try to have the connection.
‘It’s not easy, when you are the player for the club, the midfield star, and another player arrives in the team and starts performing so well and then everyone starts talking just about the player and, “He made the team change, he made everything”.
‘All of that could have a little bit of an impact in every head on the team but what I’ve seen in the last games is the players adjust to that.
‘They have confirmed a little bit what Bruno can give to the side and Bruno is part of the team so now they look like a much stronger outfit.
‘So I’m very confident about the next games until the end of the season.
‘I think there will be suspense until the end of the season because they are still in the Europa League. Let’s see.’
Nani believes Pogba ‘can do much better’ in a United shirt and hopes the 2018 World Cup winner is able to put the constant speculation over his future to the back of his mind.
‘At this moment, I see him as one of the important players at Man United but I don’t know what he has on his mind, if he wants to leave or if all this news is making some problems in his head,’ Nani added.
‘I don’t know if he has his full concentration on the team, on the games, on the goals of the team.
‘I saw him when he was struggling with some injuries and then he came back and started playing, he was improving his performance. He was doing well.
‘He was helping the team, but we know Pogba can do much better, he can do much more because he is a top player in this position. He’s not using all his strength, all his qualities.
‘He needs to continue to improve his game, his confidence and try to help the team in the way he can.’