Bruno Fernandes has not yet been part of a losing Manchester United side.
The Portuguese midfielder has been indispensable during United’s 14-game unbeaten run, which has enabled Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side to keep hopes of a fourth-placed finish and two trophies still alive.
Fernandes’ arrival from Sporting Lisbon had been called for months in advance by large sections of the United fanbase, and he has not disappointed since his January transfer.
Solskjaer has become reliant on Fernandes to become his side’s creative fulcrum, with everything good United do in attack coming through the energy and imagination of the 25-year-old.
But it is unrealistic to expect an individual to have the same influence on every outing and Fernandes’ performance against Norwich as United edged through to the FA Cup semi-finals was poor.
Fernandes was guilty of trying to force the issue at Carrow Road and would too often make the incorrect decision at the vital moment.
While he was still United’s most dangerous threat, he fluffed several shooting opportunities and inevitably tired as United entered extra-time.
After playing 210 minutes within the last six days, it may be wise to keep Fernandes on the bench for United’s trip to Brighton on Tuesday evening.
Solskjaer needs to keep players fresh in this crucial run-in and now has an important decision to make over his most influential player’s involvement.
But the trouble for the Norwegian boss is that his two like-for-like stand-ins come in the shape of the forlorn Andreas Pereira and Jessie Lingard.
Perhaps Paul Pogba could play the advanced midfield role ahead of a midfielder pivot of Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay.
But United’s most encouraging moments since the restart have come in the link-up between Pogba and Fernandes.
It would be a huge call to rest Fernandes for Tuesday’s game as United need victory to keep the pressure on top four rivals Chelsea, Leicester City and Wolves.
We think Fernandes will be desperate to be included in the starting XI despite any fatigue he may have and Solskjaer is ultimately likely to select him.