Bruno Fernandes.

Bruno draws inspiration from Ronaldo's mentality

Bruno Fernandes’s winning mentality has become evident to everybody since he joined Manchester United last January, and it is something he has helped cultivate by spending time with his Portugal international team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo.

The brilliant midfielder has been a stellar signing for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and has scored 10 times already in the Premier League this term. In total, he has 18 goals and 14 assists from 29 appearances in the division.

The 26-year-old provided us with an in-depth interview to review 2020 and was happy to expand on what makes him tick. When we referred to a social-media post Fernandes made in the wake of the Emirates FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea - when he converted a penalty in a 3-1 loss - he elaborated on the meaning of his message.

Bruno explained his view that it is crucial to remain level-headed, particularly when United attract so much media attention and inevitable knee-jerk reactions to every result.

“I think it’s important for us inside to understand,” he told us. “The club have a lot of media behind, a lot of people talking. They will be talking all the time. They want to talk when you lose, they don’t want to talk when you win, because it is better to attack than to defend the club.

“I think the most important thing is, inside of the group, we understand what we have to do, what we have to improve, where we are and where we want to go. For me, the most important thing is like when we lose, we are not the worst.

“Of course if you lose, you did mistakes and you need to go into training the next day and think what can we improve now to not make the same mistakes in the next game.

“For me, in life, it is always like that,” he outlined. “In your entire life, you do mistakes. It is impossible not to do mistakes in your personal life, in football, in other sports. You always make mistakes because without mistakes, goals do not exist. It’s impossible in a game of football.

“Of course, if someone takes the ball and shoots from 40 yards in the first two seconds of a game, you can say maybe nobody did a mistake. But someone maybe needs to mark him and maybe the coach of the other team will think it’s a mistake from my midfielder or my defender who didn’t mark him and gave him too much space.”

Exclusive: Bruno's 2020 in his own wordsVideo

For Bruno, Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have set new benchmarks for the output of top-level footballers. Their remarkable consistency, and ability to get better and better, while adapting to new challenges, is something of an inspiration. Currently shining for Juventus and Barcelona respectively, the pair have been at the pinnacle of the game for over a decade.

“In everything in life, you have to improve and understand you’re not the worst and you are not the best,“ he added. “There is always time to improve. It’s impossible to be the worst because you have time to improve, and it’s impossible to be the best because you always have time to improve.

“If you see Cristiano and Messi, they are improving all seasons. How is this possible? Everyone says it’s impossible to do better but, every season, they do better and better and better. It is 11 years fighting for a Ballon d’Or and this will never happen again. It will never happen again in the story of football because they are still improving and I have the chance to be with Cristiano in the national team.

“I see the way he wants to improve every time, in free-kicks, in shots, in headers, in penalties and you want everything. You want to improve every time. When you lose, he knows he has to improve more and when you win, he understands he needs to go to the details of the good [work] to improve a little bit more.”

After such a superb 2020 on a personal level for Bruno on the pitch, we hope he can achieve even more in 2021. If he does, it can only be great news for everybody associated with Manchester United.

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