Man Utd star Bruno Fernandes in classy Jesse Lingard gesture during tunnel meeting

Man Utd: Are they over-reliant on Bruno Fernandes?

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Manchester United talisman Bruno Fernandes and on-loan West Ham United star Jesse Lingard shared a friendly embrace outside the tunnel at Old Trafford on Sunday evening. The latter was in attendance to watch his parent club edge past the Hammers in a 1-0 win decided by Craig Dawson’s second-half own goal.

Lingard has been one of West Ham’s most influential players since joining on a temporary basis in the January transfer window.

The 28-year-old has provided four goals and two assists for David Moyes’ side after failing to make a single Premier League appearance for United during the first half of the campaign.

He was ineligible to feature against the Red Devils on Sunday evening, but made the trip north with his team-mates and was spotted engaging with his United pals as the hosts streamed out of the dressing room for their pre-match warm-up.

The main reason behind Lingard’s loan departure was the arrival of Fernandes in January of last year, with the Portuguese star well and truly making the No 10 role his own since joining from Sporting Lisbon.

However, despite the possibility of friction between the pair as a result, there was plenty of respect on show when they crossed paths ahead of kick-off at Old Trafford.

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Fernandes, making his way out to the pitch before the match, was greeted by Lingard outside the tunnel before stopping in his tracks to give the West Ham loan star a hug.

United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted on Friday that it was a simple decision to allow Lingard to leave in search of regular minutes, claiming that the move has been a successful development for all parties involved.

“It has really worked out for Jesse, for David [Moyes] and for us as a club as well,” Solskjaer told reporters. “We know Jesse’s position is a 10 and we’ve got Bruno there.

“For me, it was a no-brainer to get Jesse a chance to prove himself and play some football again. He has been really bright for them. He’s finally back to himself.”

Lingard’s influence has helped maintain West Ham’s ambitions of European football next season, with the club currently occupying fifth place in the Premier League table.

A Champions League spot is not out of the question for the Hammers, who sit three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea with the added benefit of a game in hand.

The success of Lingard’s spell has led to speculation that he could seal a permanent switch to the London Stadium at the end of the campaign.

Moyes suggested earlier this month that he could look to keep the versatile playmaker beyond the summer, revealing that his desire to succeed with the Hammers has been second to none.

“I hope we’re going to be in a position to attract many players in the future, because of our league position, because we’re a club with stature,” said Moyes.

“We’re in London, we have a 60,000-plus stadium which will be full every week. I think all those things go in our favour.

“Jesse wanted to come here, right from the start. When I was talking to him he wanted to come to West Ham. He saw it as a really good place for him. I think he’ll have seen what we’re trying to do.

“He’s joined a good group of players as well. We’ve got international players and I’m hoping we can add to that in the coming transfer window. The job is to try to add to that.

“But I would hope Jesse sees this as a good place if it’s possible to be done, and if we think that we want to do it at the end of the season.”

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