Fernandes is raising the bar and Ole loves it
Bruno Fernandes has set the bar pretty high for his level of performance since joining Manchester United.
The goal-and-assist machine provided neither in the 1-0 win at Burnley and it was interesting to read some suggestions he was overshadowed by matchwinner Paul Pogba. I am sure this would be fine for the Portugal international as we celebrated the three points that took us top of the table.
Our no.18 was heavily involved at Turf Moor, probing the home defence and firing in shots. He performed well and the man who has a fourth Premier League Player of the Month award to find room for on his mantelpiece must be approaching a first visit to Anfield exuding confidence.
Another brilliant month for Fernandes
Check out Bruno's best bits in the Premier League throughout December...
The numbers, in terms of Bruno's contribution, always add up. It is one of the reasons why he has been such a massive hit at Old Trafford. However, if he does not score or assist, there seems to be a quick take that he could be tiring or dropping out of form.
This, thankfully, is probably nonsense. It could be argued his display against the Clarets was better than the one in the win over Wolves, when his long ball needed a lot of finishing off by Marcus Rashford in stoppage time but the forward's fine play ensured our midfielder registered another assist for his collection. Overall, though, he was probably better and his work-rate and appetite helped create space for Pogba to thrive.
Clearly, Bruno's ability to put in a shift never goes unnoticed, certainly not by his manager and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told us there is another side to the Portugal international's game, in addition to his creative output.
“He always, more or less, tops the charts for total distance and high intensity," explained the manager. "He’s got a great hunger and desire to win, so that’s part of his game that people maybe don’t look at, but we appreciate all he’s putting in.
“Of course, all the goals and assists are one part of it, all the other bits are the things that really can make the difference for us.”
The stats for this season perfectly illustrate how Bruno combines his flair going forward with a relentless work-ethic.
According to FBREF.com, he has supplied the most through balls (15) and passes into the opposing penalty area (51) and yet only five players have made more than his 305 'pressures' on opponents and these tend to be more defensive performers such as Pierre Hojbjerg of Tottenham and Chelsea's N'Golo Kante.
United Daily: Bruno wins again!
Fernandes and Galton react to their Player of the Month awards, while Ole and Harry preview Sunday's huge game...
It all adds up to a beautifully well-rounded player who will be a key figure on Merseyside this Sunday and should never be under-estimated.
As skipper Harry Maguire told us on Friday: "He's a top player and a top guy and we're lucky to have him."