Bruno sets personal target for 2021
Bruno Fernandes has had a fabulous 2020 but he's revealed a personal target to us in an exclusive interview ahead of Wednesday's Carabao Cup tie with Everton.
The Portugal international reflected on the year at the Aon Training Complex and spoke about his incredible record, currently standing at 29 direct goal involvements (17 goals, 12 assists) from his 27 Premier League games.
In assessing the 6-2 win over Leeds United, a game he admits was one of the most entertaining he has played in, Bruno expressed sadness that the fans were not at the stadium to witness it because they would have been having a party outside afterwards!
When asked about his goal and assist record, he replied: "I think, as I’ve said before, it’s easy when you play in a team like Manchester because there are so many good players around you. They help you to be better and I am here to help them be better. So I think, of course, numbers are really good but it is now that I need to start to improve. It will be more difficult from now and I mean difficult day-by-day and game-by-game because the players will know me better.
“Of course, I am really happy to have these numbers and, obviously, it is not easy to get to this point with these numbers but I want to do better and better, more and more. I want to finish the Premier League this season with more goals and assists than games. That would be good."
The victory over Marcelo Bielsa's side on Sunday showcased the Reds at our swashbuckling best but, ever the perfectionist, Fernandes was keen to bemoan the lack of a clean sheet following the concession of two goals to the Yorkshire outfit.
"[Was it one of the most entertaining games you've played in?] I think, yes," he stated. "I think yes, of course, when you score lots of goals, you are happy. You are not happy to concede two goals. We want to have clean sheets, of course, but I think, at the end of the day, the most important thing was that it doesn’t matter if we score six or not.
“If we score three, it was enough, 3-2 and we go home with the three points. That’s the most important thing. Of course, we want to win and we want to score goals. We want to show our best qualities we can but the most important thing for us, for the team, is winning. We know the fans want to see goals, skills, some magic things but the most important thing, for us, and what we need to think about, is winning."
The 26-year-old is also hoping, like everybody else, that supporters will be allowed back inside all grounds at some point in the near future. Although Everton will have 2,000 fans at Goodison Park for the Carabao Cup tie, Old Trafford has remained empty and the latest COVID-19 developments mean there is still concern that there will be a prolonged wait for some degree of normality.
"Of course, for us, it will be really important," he told us. "You know, I think football is about the fans and around the fans. We play, basically, for them; for ourselves, of course, but to give some joy to the fans.We want to give that joy so the next day they go to work and be happy with the three points. I think if the fans are working the day after, they would be very happy with the three points against Leeds.
“We know what it means to them. I think if fans were in the stadium on Sunday, they will come out and there was a party straight away for them! I think it's really, really important, not for us but for everyone in the world to have the option to go to see games again, to have that joy and enjoy again football and other sports. Also for us players, we miss them a lot."
Our no.18 is happy at United and often smiling, even if that hides a steely determination and drive to win, which is always at the forefront of his thoughts. As part of a wider interview, he also admitted that his burning ambition is to win silverware - and the sooner the better.
"I think the first 12 months, the 11 months for me [here], have been great," he said. "Of course, the main thing I want, I didn’t achieve, until now, is the trophies. That is clear. We really can do that in 2021 and, of course, I think, at the end of everything, what we did in the last 11 months was really good. I’m very happy to be here and to be part of this biggest club."