Bruno braced for Atalanta test
Bruno Fernandes says Manchester United have to move on from the weekend win at Tottenham Hotspur by focusing immediately on the next game, away to Atalanta.
The Portuguese playmaker played a crucial role in both goals as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side bounced back from defeat to beat Spurs 3-0 on Saturday evening.
Fernandes first assisted his compatriot Cristiano Ronaldo with a fantastic ball into the box and later won possession to feed Ronaldo again, who duly set up Edinson Cavani for United’s second goal.
It was the first time Ronaldo and Cavani have started a game alongside each other for the Reds, and Bruno was asked how it felt to play behind the pair.
“Honestly, I think we have such good quality in the team, not only Edi and Cristiano,” Bruno said, during the pre-match press conference on Monday afternoon.
“Of course, they scored and were a big part of the result on Saturday but honestly, I think with the quality we have in the team it's really easy for me to serve any striker we have.
“They have great qualities; they are all basically different, but all can score goals at many times and from any positions.
“I'm really happy with the strikers we have. We have many talents in this team so for me it doesn't matter who plays there, I know the quality will be high and I just try to serve them and make them happy.”
It was an important week for United, with players, coaches, and fans all equally desperate to bounce back from the previous weekend's defeat to Liverpool.
Fernandes revealed a little about the players’ response to that loss, insisting that the self-belief the players have is unchanged by one result.
“Obviously that game hurts a lot,” he said.
“But after we had to play against Tottenham, so Liverpool was the past in the same way Tottenham is now the past. Even if we win, it changes nothing for us; the belief is always the same.
“The reaction from the players was good. The first and second day, it's difficult to handle a loss like that against one of the biggest rivals. I know some people think not, but we feel the same as the fans and we feel for them also. We are there to try and give them something and we let them down [against Liverpool].
“But as I said, it's the past, we carried on, we did our job against Tottenham, and we won. Now we forget what we did against Tottenham, and we start thinking about what we can do against Atalanta. It's a different competition and we want to win the game, so we have to focus on tomorrow.”
Although Fernandes joined United from Sporting in his home country, Portugal, he spent several years playing in Serie A, first with Novara and then Udinese and Sampdoria. He faced Atalanta on seven occasions while in Italy, six times in the league and once in the Coppa Italia.
When questioned about the Bergamo-based side, Fernandes was full of praise for their mentality and recent rise.
“They have players who can create lots of problems for us,” Bruno said.
“[Luis] Muriel and [Duvan] Zapata are really key players for them in the way that they play, but I also think that Atalanta is a strong team because they're a team of players, they draw their strength from being a group.
“This group has a huge belief in itself and a huge desire to do well, and I think that's probably the most important characteristic. As Ole said, Gasperini gets this message over and I think this is the great strength of this team of players and the club.
“No one four or five years ago could have possibly thought Atalanta could be where they are today so it's a great credit to them.”