Bruno: Big teams & players can show in every moment
Manchester United talisman Bruno Fernandes disagrees with the notion that Liverpool’s form has dipped and expects they will provide a huge challenge in Sunday’s Emirates FA Cup tie.
That run includes the goalless draw with United at Anfield last weekend, when Fernandes and the Reds were unlucky not to secure three points – with Bruno going close to scoring from a free-kick.
It has been suggested in the media that Roberto Firminho, Sadio Mane and Mohammad Salah are underperforming, but our Portuguese playmaker is not buying it. As he explains in this exclusive interview, “big teams and big players can show in every moment”.
While explaining his assessment of the opposition, our influential no.18 also addresses the expectation that is placed on his shoulders and how he thrives on that responsibility. Read the full interview here...
Firstly, how have you recovered after the Fulham game?
“Well, you always recover well when you win so I am ready for the next one.”
It was a tough game against Fulham but we are managing to win these tight games…
“Yes, as everyone knows, I think without the fans it is harder to play because the [opposition] teams are playing with a little bit of less pressure, so they can keep the ball, they have more time on the ball, they start playing with it a little bit more. Maybe before the pressure of the fans to call them to go forward, and go direct, and all of that stuff, but teams now play a bit more and I really liked the way Fulham played. They didn't surprise me because I had seen some games of theirs and I think they have really good qualities. They are well trained to be better than where they are in this moment.”
You are a scorer of great goals, so did you enjoy Paul Pogba’s world-class strike?
“Of course, you enjoy those kind of goals. You know, everyone knows, and I think everybody will never forget Paul has that quality and he is capable of scoring that kind of goal, and the kinds of games and performances he is doing. I think you always enjoy it when somebody scores a goal like that.”
The game against Liverpool this weekend might be settled by a wonderful goal, as it’s usually a tight game. How much have you realised the importance of this fixture to the fans?
“In the past already, I have seen Manchester [United] playing for a long time and I know what that game means for the fans. Everyone knows and of course, for us, it means a lot because it is a cup [game] and it is a chance to put one of the strongest teams who are in the cup with us out. So we have to take that. Of course, we have so many teams in the cup in this moment that maybe you can have an easier game than this, but if you want to win the cup then you have to beat the biggest teams, so we have a chance now to beat one of the best that is left in the FA Cup.”
“I think teams have moments. I don't think Liverpool are playing poorly. I think they don't win and this is the point. When teams don't win, everyone talks about that. When players don't score, everyone talks about that. I feel that on me because I know the standard is high, because I arrived and I scored a lot of goals and make a lot of assists, and everyone is wanting goals and assists from me. It is the same - everyone expects goals from Salah, from Firminho and from Mane. They are not scoring in the last games and it starts feeling like 'oh, they are not playing well'. They create, they play, but the other teams are playing better and, as I said before, they have more qualities to play. Every team goes there to play maybe without the pressure of the fans. Teams play a little bit more comfortably and, as I say, I think it is a moment. We don't have to look at that moment because big teams and big players can show in every moment.”
Watch Ole's pre-Liverpool FA Cup briefing
Reporters asked the boss about his strikers, Wan-Bissaka and facing Klopp's men again, during his press conference...
Finally, it will be a classic cup game, no doubt, and hopefully an entertaining one for the fans…
“I hope it can be a good game, but what is important for me is winning the game. But I hope and I am sure it will be a good game for the fans, and for everyone who is watching. I think they can enjoy it with goals or no goals. The game has players with quality to try to give quality to the fans.”
United v Liverpool kicks off at 17:00 GMT on Sunday.