Manchester United were utterly convincing on Sunday as they secured a 3-0 win against Watford in the Premier League.
The Old Trafford fixture held much delight as Bruno Fernandes found his debut goal via a penalty strike while Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood furthered their respective tallies with impressive knocks.
The win was also one wherein Ole Gunnar Solskjajer’s side showed back-to-back bouts of brilliance, having punished Frank Lampard’s Chelsea 2-0 at Stamford Bridge a few days prior.
More importantly, there was a clear attacking swagger to their total approach and all-round ethos. Man of the Match for the third game running, Bruno Fernandes appeared fully adjusted to his new club while Scott McTominay returning from injury added to the delight.
As such, the notable absentees from the matchday squad garnered much importance.
The Norwegian gaffer had elected to leave both Andreas Pereira and Jesse Lingard out of the fixture, with academy graduate Tahith Chong starting ahead of either on the bench and even putting in a cameo substitute appearance.
Giving the reason behind the ousting of the two players, Solskjaer did not mince words, stating to MUTV: “There’s more and more competition for places. Your standard has to improve.”
Fernandes’ arrival makes that statement all the more powerful. In fact, the Portuguese midfielder has already bettered Lingard’s numbers across all competitions during his short time at the club, while Andreas Pereira will have to make a strong effort in order to even cut in on to the bench going forward.
While cup games and crowded fixture-list will still be a promising avenue for the two players to regain their gaffer’s trust, one does wonder if enough damage has been done by them during the course of the season for a longer exile.
With injured talents returning, the future does look grim for the duo.