Bruno Fernandes believes Paul Pogba’s slow start to the season was due to his battle with Covid-19.
Pogba and Fernandes were key to helping Manchester United finish third in the Premier League last season as the Reds reached the semi-final of the FA Cup and Europa League.
Both men were seen as key players in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side but Pogba has found himself restricted to a role as an impact substitute in recent months.
In the last few weeks, Pogba has returned to the starting XI in a more advanced role on the left of the midfield three.
The World Cup winner tested positive for coronavirus at the end of August and Fernandes saw the impact the virus had on his teammate but believes he is getting back to his best.
“We ended the season really well playing together,” he told NBC Sport. “But of course the beginning of the season was hard for Paul because he had Covid.
“We know it’s not a joke, it’s hard to come back after 15 days isolated doing nothing.
“It was really difficult for Paul to find his form but I think he’s much better and feeling much more confident.
“The goal against West Ham gave him much more confidence to understand.
“The team needs him and he has the quality to help us.”
After scoring in the win against West Ham, Pogba explained how coronavirus had affected his fitness during the start of the campaign.
He said: “It’s hard to explain. Even in training, I would say to the fitness coach that I feel strange. It’s not me. I got tired very fast and I’m out of breath really fast.
“The first game of the season, I couldn’t run. I was trying. I spoke with the manager: ‘I will start the game and let’s see’. But I was very out of breath and it took me a long time to get back to my fitness.
“I’m finding my rhythm as well. I feel so much better. I felt I could go again, control the game, getting the ball. That’s what I like.”