Manchester United midfield duo Fred and Nemanja Matic have earned big praise from pundit Garth Crooks after their recent improvement.
Writing in his column for BBC Sport, Crooks selected United January signing Bruno Fernandes in his Premier League team of the week, but was sure to also give credit to the upturn in form of both Fred and Matic.
Both players were signed during Jose Mourinho’s time at Old Trafford and took some time to get going for the club, but are now hugely important parts of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s ever-improving side.
“Manchester United had to grind this result out and at times it wasn’t pretty against a silky and often sophisticated Manchester City,” Crooks said.
“Fred, who finally looks like a United player, and the rejuvenated Nemanja Matic are becoming a formidable double act in midfield but without Bruno Fernandes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are nothing.
“This player has the running power of Bryan Robson – demonstrated when he dashed half the length of the pitch and put himself in an ideal position only to be ignored by Daniel James – and the touch of former Netherlands maestro Arnold Muhren.
“His chip for Martial to score from the set piece was so precise and beautifully flighted I could have scored it myself. I think United have bought a gem.”
United fans will be relieved to see Solskjaer is enjoying success with players where Mourinho previously failed, as well as showing some real nous in the transfer market with his own purchases.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire have been hugely impressive since joining the Red Devils in the summer, while winter addition Fernandes has made a superb start and Daniel James looks a decent prospect for the future.