Hernandez is Man Utd's rising star
Dimitar Berbatov athletically vaulted over a barrier to avoid discussing his latest exclusion by Manchester United - but he is not finding it as easy to escape the looming shadow of Javier Hernandez.
Berbatov's status as top scorer with 20 goals this season has not protected him from falling victim to the rapid rise of the 22-year-old, who proved his pedigree once more with the two goals that beat Marseille and sent United into the Champions League quarter-finals.
The Bulgarian's quality ensures he will figure prominently as United chase a treble in the closing weeks of the campaign and Sir Alex Ferguson manouevres his attacking resources.
But the performance of the predatory Hernandez in tandem with an improving Wayne Rooney, both in the FA Cup win against Arsenal and in securing a place in the last eight of the Champions League for the fifth season in succession, perhaps provided a signpost to the future for Ferguson.
Javier Hernandez has scored 16 goals in 17 starts for Manchester United
Hernandez's instincts eased United through a meeting with Marseille that was anything but routine. Indeed if Didier Deschamps' side had a cutting edge of the sort the Mexican provided, Ferguson could easily have been contemplating the conclusion of this season's European campaign.
Marseille grasped at the hope that they could spring a surprise when Wes Brown headed into his own net seven minutes from time, but United survived thanks to Hernandez.
Ferguson, who wisely sealed a £6m deal with Mexican side Chivas de Guadalajara before Hernandez came to greater prominence in the World Cup in South Africa, said: "I think we are surprised at how fast he has developed. When we bought him we thought he would take some time to adapt.
"First of all his main role was as a substitute and the times he came on he won a few games for us, but now he's used to the physical part and he is lasting the 90 minutes very well. He gives us great options."
The greatest option of all is afforded by the growing evidence that Ferguson has unearthed a natural goalscorer with an ability to plunder goals in the mould of "the baby-faced assassin" Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Hernandez carries more threat of raw pace than the Norwegian did, but the key is in the movement, some of it is magical. As Ferguson pointed out, Hernandez made three runs, checking and moving expertly, to ensure he was in the right place to turn in Rooney's shot for United's first goal.
It looked a simple finish but all the hard work was done before Hernandez completed the formalities, a quality appreciated and noted by Ferguson's eagle eye.
The training grounds of Carrington will hone that talent further but so much of it appears to come as second nature to Hernandez, who has now scored 16 goals for United despite only starting 17 games.
Such is Ferguson's faith in the striker known as "Little Pea" that he has felt comfortable restricting Berbatov to bench duty, even when confronted by opposition of the significance of Arsenal and Marseille.
And as with Solskjaer, no-one should be fooled by the schoolboy appearance and angelic expression. The arch-competitor Gabriel Heinze felt threatened enough to deploy his expertise in the dark arts, only to discover painfully that Hernandez was equally willing to give as to receive.
Heinze is not the defensive warrior of days gone by, but old instincts remain and he looked startled, not to mention a little embarrassed, to be dumped uncermoniously on his backside in one exchange.
The added bonus for Ferguson is Hernandez's burgeoning relationship with Rooney who, while not back to his best yet, showed encouraging signs against Marseille that his touch is returning.
Playing just off Hernandez in the role befitting his number 10 jersey, Rooney brilliantly created his first goal and excelled throughout with his perfect weight of pass. They were instrumental in the defining moments of United's FA Cup win against Arsenal and Marseille were similarly punished.
If Ferguson was able to gain satisfaction from United's attacking play, he was left to sift through the wreckage of rapidly diminishing defensive resources as victory came at a heavy price.
Already without the injured Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, United lost both John O'Shea and Rafael to hamstring injuries, prompting questions about whether Ferguson was tempted to ask Gary Neville to make a hasty return from retirement to cover the emergency.
Ferguson rejected the notion, but the manner in which Marseille troubled United's reshuffled rearguard throughout gave off ominous signals unless the Scot can get his defence back to something like full strength soon.
Greater European tests lie ahead and United's defence will need to be in better shape than it was against Marseille to survive them, although a bullish Rooney insists he would welcome a meeting with favourites Barcelona.
This win was another tribute to the remarkable resilience and inner-strength United have shown this season. Even their biggest admirers may accept this has not been a vintage year and Ferguson must rebuild in the summer - and yet they are top of the Premier League, in the FA Cup semi-final and now the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
And Ferguson is relishing his latest fight against the world. After taking Kenny Dalglish and Graham Taylor to task in his match notes for the Arsenal FA Cup tie on Saturday, the latest lesson was delivered to Marseille coach Didier Deschamps.
Ferguson wrote: "I hope also that we can show Didier Deschamps that despite his suggestion that our present side doesn't have as much 'fantasy' compared with our team of a few years ago, we are still capable of producing our fair share of magic.
"I take his point because the side that captured the unique Treble was something quite special, but don't underestimate the boys of today."
One of the boys of today who can no longer be underestimated is the bargain buy Hernandez - the Mexican who could be on his way to making himself another Old Trafford icon as a natural successor to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.