Bruno Fernandes had a game to forget as Manchester United drew 0-0 with Chelsea.
The match was there for the taking for the Red Devils, but United’s Portuguese talisman Fernandes was unable to lead his team to glory.
After the match Paul Scholes criticised the midfielder’s perceived lack of effort.
“They’ve got to change it, the quality has got to be better,” Scholes told Premier League Productions after the game. “The big players have got to step up.
“Again Fernandes today, I can’t remember him doing anything. I don’t remember him creating a chance, I don’t remember him having a shot on goal.
“I don’t remember [Edouard] Mendy, other than a couple of times, being brought into the game. So the quality is disappointing, they’ve got to get it better against these big clubs.”
Scholes’ comments follow similar ones made by Roy Keane a few weeks ago, in which the Irishman also suggested Fernandes goes missing in big games.
Keane said on Sky Sports: “You know Fernandes has had great praise and over the past few months people have been comparing him to Cantona etc.
“But Cantona – Fernandes didn’t really do much tonight. The top players turn up in the big occasions. That’s what the Cantonas used to do, get their hands on trophies. And that’s where this team is a little bit short.
“They probably need to have one or two more players come into the squad no doubt and the mentality, maybe they need the confidence of winning a semi-final to get them over the line. Then you get momentum.”
So what was the issue with Fernandes at Stamford Bridge?
Well a moment of frustration from the match, which was overheard by the few in attendance, sums it up pretty well.
N’Golo Kante is a world-class midfielder who does the humdrum jobs better than most.
The Frenchman won’t score from the edge of the area, but he’ll break up an opposition attack with a perfectly-timed challenge or interception and put his side back on the front foot.
On Sunday, Kante simply put Fernandes in his pocket.
The Frenchman was on fire as he made seven successful tackles and four interceptions – more than any over player on the pitch.
What’s more, Kante didn’t commit a single foul, with his success in dominating the midfield leaving Fernandes simply seething.
After one challenge Fernandes was heard shouting, “It’s always him!” in the direction of the referee in the hope of winning a foul against Kante.
But Stuart Attwell saw nothing wrong with the tackle and simply waved play on.