Carlos Carvalhal says Bruno Fernandes operates best from a deeper position and has warned Manchester United not to play the midfielder as a ‘number 10’.
The Portuguese international moved to Old Trafford from Sporting Lisbon in the January transfer window, the 25-year-old arriving as the club’s marquee addition in a deal which could potentially rise as high as £68m.
Fernandes produced an encouraging debut performance during the club’s goalless draw with Wolves prior to the winter break, and it is hoped the new signing can provide the creativity and goal threat that has been lacking from an unimaginative Manchester United midfield so far this season.
Despite Fernandes’ prolific goalscoring record, however, former Sporting coach Carvalhal has warned Ole Gunnar Solskjaer about his positioning of the player and believes his compatriot operates best when playing in a deeper role, influencing the play in a complete box-to-box role.
“He is not a number 10,” Carvalhal told Sky Sports. “He is a midfielder but he has developed that ability to break the line of the defence to score goals.
“He shoots, he assists, the passes and the free-kicks. But he is not a 10, he is an 8. He is a box-to-box player who understands very well the game. He doesn’t just play. He understands everything that happens around him.
“He can organise the team, he can talk, he can give feedback. He is kind of like a manager on the pitch. He can organise things in the last part of the pitch. He is a really exciting player.”