Why it's not all about numbers for Bruno
Bruno Fernandes feels he’s playing some of his best football at Manchester United this season, even if he’s not getting as many goals and assists as he did in his first 18 months with the club.
Fernandes enjoyed an incredible start to his Old Trafford career, scoring 40 goals and registering 26 assists across the 2019/20 and 2020/21 campaigns, winning the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award at the end of each.
After a dip in form last term, relative to his high standards, Fernandes is once again performing well as the creative heart of Erik ten Hag’s side.
He may only have five goal involvements so far in 2022/23, according to FBRef.com, but Bruno is still scoring highly in terms of shot-creating actions and expected assists in the Premier League, as he is behind only Kevin De Bruyne and Kieran Trippier in both metrics.
United have won each of our last four games in all competitions and Fernandes is enjoying the momentum that brings too.
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“If we’re talking about statistics, in my first year it was amazing,” he told NBC Sports, shortly after full-time of our 3-0 victory over Nottingham Forest.
“Probably now, I’m not getting as many goals and assists but I’m playing much better and I am more involved in the game than I was before.
“It’s more important that the team wins. That makes your week. It’s easier to go to training and see the same faces when you win than it is when you lose.”
Fernandes played an important part in United’s second goal against Forest, launching a pass forward to enable Marcus Rashford to assist scorer Anthony Martial, as the Reds turned defence into attack in the blink of an eye.
Fernandes, along with Casemiro and Christian Eriksen in midfield, has a brilliant understanding of when to speed the game up and when to slow it down and that’s helping our attackers to reap the rewards in front of goal.
“I think that is something that comes naturally, we know the players that we have up front,” Bruno added.
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“They [Rashford and Martial] are players for the one v one, players that want to go forward, want to go into the space. It’s our job to make sure that we go at the right time and we keep the ball whenever we can.
“Whenever the result is on your side, you have to slow it down and they [Forest] pressed well, they’re waiting for us to make a mistake and counter, so it was massive for us to understand the moment and to go faster or slow it down.”