Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been praised for his management of Bruno Fernandes.
The midfielder netted his 11th Premier League goal of the season in United’s 2-1 win over Aston Villa on Friday night, scoring from the penalty spot shortly after Bertrand Traore had equalised for the visitors.
Fernandes has been a revelation since moving from Sporting Lisbon in last January, although he made a rare mistake in the Reds’ 2-2 draw with Leicester City on Boxing Day as he gave the ball away in his own half, allowing the Foxes to score.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Merson argued this is evidence of the freedom Solskjaer is willing to give Fernandes on the pitch.
He said: “I think it’s great management from Solskjaer for what he’s done
“He can play whatever way he wants to play. No other Manchester United player can go out and play the way he plays.
“Certain times in games he’s anonymous and other players might get brought off but he can do what he wants. The Leicester goal he tries to nutmeg inside his own half, but he plays his own way and I think that’s brilliant by the manager.
“It’s very rare you get that at a big football club that you can have someone told ‘go and do whatever you want to do – try whatever you want to try and if it doesn’t come off you’re alright’.
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Manchester United stretched their unbeaten run in the Premier League to 10 games as they recorded a deserved 2-1 victory over Aston Villa on New Year’s Day.
Goals from Anthony Martial and Bruno Fernandes got the job done as United kept the pressure up on defending champions and league leaders Liverpool.
United’s next game is against City in the Carabao Cup semi-final in midweek.
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“It’s great management and I think he’s a special player. I love watching him play and what I love about him when it isn’t going well he’ll just keep on doing what he’s doing, he won’t hide and that’s what you call brave.
“Brave’s not going into 60-40 tackles against, brave is when it’s not going well and you keep getting on the ball.”