Ex-Red Devil names the Man Utd players who are vital for CL success – and why they shouldn’t fear Luis Suarez

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Former Manchester United midfielder Luke Chadwick has looked ahead to his old club’s big Champions League game against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday.

The Red Devils have a difficult two-legged tie coming up against the La Liga champions, but Chadwick is pleased to see an important player like Bruno Fernandes coming into form at just the right time.

The Portugal international scored in Man Utd’s last two games as they earned victories over Brighton and Leeds, and he’s often been decisive in big matches since his move to Old Trafford.

Speaking exclusively to CaughtOffside, Chadwick said Fernandes and the other attacking players at United will be crucial if the team is to progress in Europe this season.

“It’s great to see Bruno Fernandes back scoring goals. He’s a massive player for Man United, and obviously Atletico Madrid will be a very different challenge, but it does give you confidence when your best players are on form going into those big games,” Chadwick said.

Bruno Fernandes celebrates a goal for Manchester United

“It’s certainly a good time for Fernandes to hit form, Atletico are a very hard-working team and Simeone will have them well drilled and up for the challenge, but if United can get their attacking players on form then they have a chance.”

The ex-Red Devil added that Atletico aren’t necessarily the worst tie for United either, with the style of play of Luis Suarez not necessarily likely to be the kind of threat that Ralf Rangnick’s defence will struggle with.

Chadwick did insist, however, that the defence will need to be better than it has been at times this season in order to give the attacking players a solid foundation to build on.

“It’s a big ask when you look at the teams still in the tournament, but as long as you’re in it you’ve got a chance. You look at Liverpool and Man City, you’d probably want to avoid them in a two-leg tie, United would have to be at their very best against them. Atletico are obviously a great team with plenty of history, but it’s not the worst draw to have. Anything can happen in knockout football, so the opportunity is there,” Chadwick said.

Luis Suarez in action for Atletico Madrid

“That back four needs to be really solid, which it hasn’t been for much of the season. The front four – Ronaldo, Fernandes, Sancho, who’s just coming into form, and then either Rashford for Lingard – they’re the ones who can win tight games in the Champions League for United, but they also need that defensive platform behind them to be strong so they can work their magic.

“Suarez is a difficult player to have a plan for. He’s so intelligent, picks up different positions, and is very strong on the ball.

“I think where Suarez is at in his career, he probably doesn’t have the same lightning pace that has troubled United’s defence at times this season. Maguire and Lindelof tend to have issues when the ball is in behind them, but Atletico’s attackers – don’t get me wrong, Suarez has had an amazing career who doesn’t need too many chances to score – but their strengths probably suit United.”

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