Is Fernandes United's new Cristiano Ronaldo?
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admits that Bruno Fernandes can be as talismanic a player for Manchester United as Cristiano Ronaldo was.
Our no.18 has recorded an astonishing 34 goal involvements in his 35 matches for the club – more than any other Premier League player in that time – including five goals and an assist in our three consecutive wins in November, against Everton, West Brom and Istanbul Basaksehir.
Fifteen of those 34 contributions to goals have arrived in his 10 Premier League away games, only two of which we’ve failed to win, and the manager admits the 26-year-old has had a transformative effect on the team, similar to the impact his legendary countryman offered to Sir Alex Ferguson's 2006-2009 vintage.
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“He does definitely have that presence,” Solskjaer told journalists in his pre-match press conference for Southampton on Sunday.
“He has that influence and impact on his team mates.
“We can just look at the results since he's come in. He's got lots of energy, leadership; he's a team player, which is a key here now for us going forward.”
That solidarity, evidenced in Fernandes’s post-match comments on Tuesday, is clearly an attribute that stands out for Solskjaer.
The boss noted how the former Sporting Lisbon man, and team-mate Marcus Rashford, are more than happy to sit out the odd game in the interests of rotation and giving other squad members an opportunity.
90 in 20: United 4 Basaksehir 1Video
“Some players will have to sit games out and rest,” Ole continued.
“I wasn't looking forward to telling Bruno that he was resting against Leipzig [for last month’s 5-0 Champions League win], but it was absolutely no problem. Same with Marcus, to be fair.
“Because they know this season is challenging and that's how we build this team and the culture of the team. It's about team and not individuals. Bruno has proven that, over and over, that it's a team before I.”