Former Manchester United defender Paul Parker believes Bruno Fernandes' wonderful displays since arriving at Old Trafford have helped bring the best out of Paul Pogba.
Fernandes has been a revelation since joining from Sporting Lisbon last year, and has scored 11 goals and created seven assists in the Premier League so far this season.
Meanwhile, despite a quiet start to the campaign Pogba has improved hugely recently, and scored a crucial winner in the 2-1 victory against Fulham on Wednesday to fire United back to the top of the table.
Speaking in an interview with Eurosport, Parker stated his belief that Pogba will have had his ego bruised by Fernandes - and for that reason has upped his game recently.
"In 2020 he was been playing in the shadow of Fernandes and that will have dented his ego," Parker said.
"Pogba was signed for a big fee; his marketability and profile - as well as his playing ability - suited Manchester United.
"But the best profile you can ever have is to be an excellent footballer, and while Fernandes came in with a much lower profile, his status has outgrown Pogba’s and for the right reasons: he’s at the top of the tree for being brilliant.
"And you can’t beat competition. In any industry, if competition comes along and you just sulk about it, then you’re not going to survive. You have to improve to get respect.
"Fernandes quickly became the key man when he arrived and it became Manchester United and Fernandes, not Pogba. It was Pogba before for the wrong reasons, now it’s Fernandes for goals and assists.
"United need that from Pogba now to challenge for the title, for him to not drop below a 7/10 in any game."
United are next in action in the FA Cup when they host bitter rivals Liverpool in a fourth round tie on Sunday.