The Nigeria international has had little game time in the Premier League to make more impact for the Red Devils, but his Portuguese teammate has acknowledged his input to the side
Premier League Player of the Month for June, Bruno Fernandes, has applauded the goalscoring ability of Odion Ighalo, asserting that Manchester United need him and others on the bench when the team begins to slow down.
Fernandes and Ighalo both joined Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side in January, with the on-loan Nigerian striker earning a contract extension following a string of brilliant showings in the cup competitions.
Ighalo has scored five goals in five FA Cup and Europa League games to highlight his excellent finishing skills, but he is yet to score in nine Premier League games – all of which he has been introduced from the bench.
Fernandes, on the other hand, has grown to become one of United’s vital stars as the Red Devils make a late surge up the league table in the hunt for a Champions League spot.
The former Sporting Lisbon midfielder has contributed 13 goals – seven goals and six assists – in only ten games since joining for €55 million in January.
The 25-year-old’s brilliant efforts have seen him claim back-to-back Premier League Player of the Month awards, the first United player to manage that since Cristiano Ronaldo 14 years ago.
But despite United winning each of their last four matches in a run of 17 undefeated games, Fernandes is convinced Ighalo and co still have a role to play for the team before the season ends.
“We have a lot of quality on the bench – Odion [Ighalo] scored in the cup against Norwich, and we also have players like Dan James, Jesse [Lingard], Juan [Mata], Chongy [Tahith Chong],” the midfielder told the club’s official website.
“So we know when we’re tired, and we need some freshness, we have a lot of players for the end of the season. It’s easy to play with these kinds of players”.