Bruno: I will never be too tired to play
Bruno Fernandes insists he does not need a rest as Manchester United prepare for our most congested run-in since the 1991/92 season.
Although speaking shortly before confirmation that our fixture with Liverpool has been rearranged for next Thursday, the talismanic midfielder was keen to point out that he will always make himself available for selection.
Our leading scorer has played 52 times so far this term for the Reds, and earned eight caps for Portugal in this time, but was outstanding again in the 6-2 Europa League semi-final first-leg win over Roma.
Despite the healthy lead, Bruno is keen to play at the Stadio Olimpico in the 20:00 BST kick-off and, although Ole Gunnar Solskjaer surely now has no option but to rotate at some point with games tonight, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday, it is hoped the arduous challenge that has been set will be embraced by a squad hungry for more victories at home and abroad.
"For me, the most important [thing] is playing," Fernandes told club media in an exclusive interview. "When the coach wants me, it's important to know I'm ready to play every game, every minute.
“I will never say I'm [too] tired to play because this is my dream. I will never be tired to play.
“When I was a kid, I played maybe seven or eight hours a day. So, to play 90 minutes every three days or two days is not enough for me.”
Fernandes's brace against Roma at Old Trafford means he is only one goal behind Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland's tally of 10 in terms of the scoring charts in the European competitions in 2020/21. Team-mate Marcus Rashford has also hit the net nine times in the Champions League and Europa League.
As somebody who keeps an eye on stats, the 26-year-old discussed the prospect of the Norway international being overtaken, when we asked if it could be something for him to aim for. "No," he replied. "For me, helping Rashy to pass him is more important for me.
“I'm there to serve my strikers. It doesn't matter if I pass [him] or Rashy passes [him]. I will be happy anyway because I give many assists to him.
“[Both go ahead of him?] That would be good and we draw at the end!”
Chasing silverware is what makes the no.18 tick and his drive to succeed is always evident in his interviews.
When you consider the way the tie turned around so quickly in the first leg, with Roma leading at the half-time break, it is obvious there can be no complacency with a place in the final later this month in Gdansk in our sights.
"I think we have to approach the game well," he explained. "We know the qualities they have and what they caused us in the first half so we have to go there, not giving them any hope or chance to believe that they can change the result.
“I think we have great players but, anyway, it doesn't matter who plays. We have qualities and everyone can do something for the team, everyone can score, everyone, if they have a chance, can do really well. It doesn't matter who plays, everyone will be ready.”
Roma v United: Ole & Bruno's press conference
Watch how Solskjaer and Fernandes answered questions on fan protests and Thursday's semi-final second leg in Italy...
UNITED'S CONFIRMED FIXTURES
Thu 6 May: Roma (A) 20:00 BST
Sun 9 May: Aston Villa (A) 14:05 BST
Tue 11 May: Leicester (H) 18:00 BST
Thu 13 May: Liverpool (H) 20:15 BST
Tue 18 May: Fulham (H) 18:00 BST
Sun 23 May: Wolves (A) 16:00 BST