What the Champions League means to Bruno

Wednesday 29 November 2023 09:00

Bruno Fernandes has reiterated the internal expectation for Manchester United to be competing in the latter stages of the UEFA Champions League.

The Reds have had a tough group-stage campaign so far, but, nevertheless, our captain insists that a club of United’s magnitude should aim to be among the teams playing in the competition’s biggest matches later this season.

That will not be possible without at least a point away to Galatasaray this evening (17:45 GMT kick-off). Ahead of the game, Fernandes has shared an insight into the squad’s firm focus on getting the job done in Turkey and maintaining our hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages.

Bruno was speaking exclusively to MUTV’s Zarah Connolly before Tuesday’s flight from Manchester, in an interview that you can read - and watch – below.
Exclusive | Bruno previews Galatasaray (A) Video

Exclusive | Bruno previews Galatasaray (A)

Speaking to club media, United captain Bruno Fernandes looks ahead to our crucial UEFA Champions League tie in Turkey...

So, Bruno, we are back in action again after our great win at the weekend against Everton. What is the morale like between you and the rest of the players?
“Obviously really good. It was a great win, a great game where you score three goals. Everyone was really happy with the result, but we have to forget that now and go forward because we have an important game ahead of us which we need to win to get the points and get the hope to go through this group.”

As you say, we are preparing for a huge game against Galatasaray. How do you think the game will be?
“Tough, intense, we know that the atmosphere will be great there. So, we just have to enjoy the challenge.”

And does it help going into the game now, after building momentum at the weekend?
“Yeah, it’s always better going into games after a win than when you lose a game, but as I said, we have to forget the result we had at the weekend because it’s not going to help us to win the game in Istanbul. But obviously it builds your confidence going into the next game.”

As captain, being involved in the Champions League and leading the team in such a huge fixture must be a great privilege. How do you keep that togetherness as well as you did at the weekend?
“I think there is no need for me to do that because we have such a good group and a lot of leaders in this group, [so] I don’t feel the pressure of having to do that. I just do it naturally, I don’t feel myself [as] a leader, that’s just the way I am so it’s kind of natural. I think in the dressing room we have a lot of players with experience and that leadership, and the skills to help the team going into these stages.”

We’ve just had our final training session before travelling. What was it like and did the focus feel good?
“Yeah, everyone is really focused, everyone is aware what we have to do and what we have to achieve in a such difficult game against a such difficult opponent. So, I think the focus is there, now it’s about getting there and doing our job.”

Everyone knows how much it means to get a result in this game but, for you personally, what does it mean to you?
“It means a lot because I want to go through the Champions League. I want to go to the final stages, I want to go as far as possible with the team in this competition because I think we deserve to be in the next phase. I think, as a team, we represent such a big club that it has to be in those final stages.”