Bruno Fernandes on the ball against Istanbul Basaksehir at Old Trafford

Thursday Briefing: How Bruno has shocked Nani

Manchester United favourite Nani always believed Bruno Fernandes would be a success in English football – but even he is surprised by his Portuguese compatriot’s influence at Old Trafford.

The pair were team-mates for one season at Sporting Lisbon in 2018/19, which was Nani’s last campaign in Europe before heading to Major League Soccer club Orlando City - where he is currently the captain and star man.

Our 2008 Champions League winner saw lots of potential in Fernandes at that time and instructed him to play in the Premier League - and preferably for United - if the opportunity ever arose.

Of course, Bruno completed his transfer to Old Trafford in January and has unquestionably become the most influential player in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad, so far scoring 21 goals and registering 13 assists in 35 appearances – which are incredible figures for a midfielder. 

A trending statistic on Tuesday night showed that no player in English football has contributed more goal involvements across all competitions than Fernandes since his transfer to United – with his 34 beating Harry Kane (31), Son Heung-min (25), Kevin de Bruyne (23) and Mohammad Salah (22). 
Nani in action for Orlando City in the MLS
Nani in action for Orlando City in the MLS.

In an exclusive column for United Review, the official matchday programme at Old Trafford, Nani explains how he is enjoying the responsibility of his role as Orlando's captain, including the requirement of advising young players - just as he did with United's current main man during their time together in Lisbon.

“I am loving it out here,” writes the ex-Red, “especially because this season has been much better for us. We have improved a lot as a team, playing better, winning more. We are in the end-of-season play-offs for the first time in our history and I think we have shown we are capable of beating anybody. I can say that this season has been great and these are really exciting times for us.

“I am really enjoying the responsibility of giving advice to younger lads who need it. It’s really nice to have people listen to you, respect you and feel that you can help them improve their qualities. A couple of years ago I was giving advice to Bruno Fernandes, who I used to play with at Sporting. Bruno now is a much better player than when we were playing together. He was doing great in Portugal but the Portuguese league is not the same as the Premier League – in everything there is more quality and intensity.

“I saw so much potential in Bruno and I told him to go to England if he decided to move to another league. I said to him, ‘Your game will fit there and the fans will go crazy for you!’

“The style of his football is something fans appreciate. He is a player who likes to take risks in the game, who wants to take the responsibility of the game on his back and make difficult passes, dribbles and shots. He doesn’t care about mistakes; he only thinks about success and making the team have success. He knows what that takes. That’s Man United, isn’t it?

“All the years of success at the club were achieved with that approach. Every player in the team, from goalkeeper to striker, took risks. We all knew the timing, when we should be calm, but all our games had passion, quality and the freedom to take risks if the result wasn’t coming. Bruno has done so well until now, scoring goals and setting up a lot of goals, but I think he will keep improving and making the team even better.

“I still watch almost all of United’s games. I watch when it is possible because of my schedule here in Orlando. I always support United and I have to say they have been fun to watch. I really like the way this United team plays. Obviously one or two results at the beginning of the season weren’t what we wanted, but I’m confident this team will keep getting better and better. I think we can have a special season.”

WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY?

The hard work never stops for United and the lads will be at the Aon Training Complex, preparing for Sunday’s Premier League match against Southampton.

Our cameras will be in place to capture the workout and you can see the latest images via ManUtd.com and the Official App later on.

Meanwhile, join us in wishing Aaron Wan-Bissaka a very happy 23rd birthday. The defender is no doubt hoping for good news regarding the injury that forced him off on Tuesday night. 

Academy graduate Danny Welbeck is celebrating his 30th birthday and, on the subject of anniversaries, today marks 28 years since Eric Cantona made his game-changing transfer to United. 

We would also like to wish our American supporters a very happy Thanksgiving.

United Daily: Wednesday's NewsVideo

WHAT HAPPENED YESTERDAY?

The match highlights of United’s 4-1 win over Basaksehir, followed by Donny van de Beek’s reaction to the Champions League win at Old Trafford. 

We provided the latest news on injuries to Wan-Bissaka and Victor Lindelof, a suspension for Axel Tuanzebe and an incredible statistic involving our man of the moment, Fernandes

You should also check out what fans on social media have been saying about Bruno and Edinson Cavani, plus our latest edition of the Match Quiz – which starts with a very tricky question!

The club joined countless others around the world in paying tribute to Diego Maradona, one of the greatest players of all time, who passed away at the age of 60.

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