Exclusive: Bruno on awards, fans and leadership
Bruno Fernandes has picked up yet more accolades for his recent performances and goals in November, but our inspirational no.18 isn’t about to rest on his laurels, in fact he’s demanding more from himself and his Manchester United team-mates.
Our current top scorer remains as focused as ever on helping the team build on some strong momentum gained recently in the Premier League, particularly after last Sunday’s brilliant comeback victory at Southampton.
Reflecting on his latest Player of the Month prize (he also won November’s Goal of the Month with his rocket against Istanbul Basaksehir), Bruno told us: “Of course, it’s always important when you receive this kind of award. Every player wants and likes to receive this kind of award because it means you are doing well and doing the right things so let’s keep going like that.
“I thank the fans too,” he added. “Because all the support they give me and they give the team is very, very important. Now everybody understands it’s more difficult because they are not with us and we hope soon we can have our supporters in our stadium. But we look forward to giving some joy to them watching from home.”
Discussing his memorable strike in the Champions League clash at Old Trafford, he continued: “I think it was a beautiful goal. It’s difficult when the ball bounces like that, normally you get too much power on the ball and it goes straightaway into the stands! It was a good goal, of course it’s really important for me as it gives me more confidence.
"The most important thing is goals for the team and helping the team take points. I think every player thinks in the same way, we need to look for the team and doing the right things. When we have to shoot we shoot, when we have to pass we pass. The most important thing all the time is the team.”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer recently praised Fernandes for the influence and impact he’s had on the club and other players since joining in January and our Portuguese magnifico insists his leadership qualities are something that are simply an organic part of his persona.
“I think it’s something natural in me,” he said. “I don’t do anything like saying ‘I want to be a leader or I want to do things in a different way to someone’ it’s the natural way I have. It’s something that’s in my game. Sometimes you have to improve also on this because you need leadership from different players in different modes.
“For me the point is helping everyone with my voice when I can and also with my energy and everything I do in the game to help the team. The most important thing for me is helping my team-mates in any way I can, if it’s with my voice then it’s with my voice, if it’s with my energy then it’s with my energy.”
The Reds will be looking to build on a record eighth consecutive league away win when we travel to West Ham on Saturday. United have come from behind to win every league match on the road this term and Bruno says that’s down to the faith and belief the players have in each other.
“The spirit is good of course but for me most of the time when we have come back in the games it’s because we believe,” he insisted. “We believe and we trust ourselves and I think this is the most important thing. When you concede a goal normally everything is bad but the belief and the trust we have in each other is the most important thing.
“I think everyone knows Christmas time is one of the most important times in the league because we know what we have to do. We have a lot of games now and if we do well we can be where we want to be. So we have to win our games, focus on what we have to do and the most important thing now is to focus on West Ham and bringing three points home.”
Saturday’s match will be United’s first in front of fans, although sadly not our own. It’s unclear as to when supporters will be permitted back inside Old Trafford due to Manchester currently being in Tier 3, but Bruno looks forward to the day when he and the Reds can be back in front of the United faithful.
“I play already in Portugal with the national team, both games against Spain and Sweden, with supporters and I think it’s strange because the stadium is not full but it gave us some extra energy and some motivation,” he explained. “I think it will be good and I think good also for the people to understand that the situation is getting better and I think when they come back they will enjoy, maybe more. For the players, it doesn’t matter if we play away or home they will be really important. They help us so much.”