Erik ten Hag has just discovered Manchester United’s most important partnership

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Erik ten Hag has just discovered Manchester United’s most important partnership

Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke had a special connection playing for Manchester United, scoring 53 goals in the 1998/99 season. Some felt that partnership would never be beaten at Old Trafford, but along came Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo, who wreaked havoc on Premier League defences and Sir Alex Ferguson had two of the world’s best players in his team.

The importance of such relationships in football can’t be understated. Any successful team has partnerships across the pitch in all different positions and Erik ten Hag’s current team is further evidence of that following an encouraging campaign.

Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane have a brilliant understanding at centre-back, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Antony have an unlikely connection on the right – the winger can’t speak fluent English – and Bruno Fernandes‘ relationship with Marcus Rashford is brilliantly effective.

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Although the impact the centre-backs have made has been lauded, the connection between Fernandes and Rashford perhaps hasn’t been as obvious, however, their connection has been equally as important as the understanding between the first-choice central defenders, who are both currently sidelined.

Rashford discussed playing with Fernandes after the Anfield debacle and he said: “I love playing with Bruno, as you can imagine. He’s the perfect player to play with. He’s been a good leader for us, even when he’s not captain, which is always a good sign.

“He’s helped other players become better leaders and the reality is that we can’t be an organised team in terms of just one leader being captain. He’s done a lot for us. I don’t have anything negative to say about Bruno. I’m 100% behind him.”

Fernandes was heavily criticised for his attitude in the Anfield post-mortem and it was unsurprising to see Rashford give him his unwavering support. The pair are close on the pitch and they are both instrumental in the dressing room.

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