Manchester United legend Paul Scholes believes Bruno Fernandes needs to "be a bigger influence" in big games if he is to win the Player of the Year award.
Fernandes put in a disappointing performance in United's 0-0 draw with Chelsea on Sunday, creating just one chance and failing to have a single shot on target.
His overall record against the traditional 'Big Six' this season has seen the midfielder play seven games, score once and provide no assists.
Scholes believes Fernandes has been a "special" signing and "should be right in the mix" for the award but he thinks Manchester City have players more deserving, claiming Fernandes needs to have more of an effect against the big teams.
Speaking to Optus Sport, Scholes explained: "What he's brought to this United team … has been special.
"He creates goals, scores – not in the big games! – but in a lot of them.
"Ultimately, at Man United you are there to win titles and big games and he has to be a bigger influence than that.
"I could give him a bit of an excuse with United's centre-halves – to me, they need protecting too much, especially in the big games against proper forward players.
"(The central midfielders) sit too deep and he doesn't get the support from the midfield players, which is important to him. It is not just the ability he has got, he needs bodies around him to take people away, so he can come into spaces, player who is controlling midfield, and that brings the best out of him.
"This will be a problem for United until they solve it.
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"They need to sign a centre-half who is dominant, takes the ball off people, look what City have done with (Ruben) Dias … all the teams that have won the league in recent years: (Vincent) Kompany, (Virgil) Van Dijk …
"He should be right in the mix (for PFA Player of the Year), there is no doubt about that, but I am always a believer the best players are the players playing for the team that wins the league and there are a few City players I'd go for before Bruno."
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