Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes has downplayed comparisons to United legend Eric Cantona and insisted that he still has a long way to go before he can be compared to the Frenchman in the same breath. It would seem that the Portuguese midfielder is down to earth and will not take praise that he feels is not deserved, which today is great to see. You see many players that think they are the bee’s knees despite not achieving much in their careers. Fernandes is so much different than that based on what has been said.
Recently, several former United players have compared Fernandes’ impact to that of Cantona when Sir Alex Ferguson signed the Frenchman from Leeds United on the 26 November 1992. Phil Neville, speaking to Premier League Productions, said:
“Cantona? [Wayne] Rooney when he came in? You talk about the great Manchester United players that have been brought in, Cantona probably had the biggest influence of all-time.
“You think now that United have gone a long time without winning a league title, at the moment he’s [Fernandes] lit up the whole place.”
Ryan Giggs credited Fernandes for “giving everyone a lift:” with David May stating that Fernandes was the “missing piece of the puzzle” like Cantona when he was at Leeds. The Portuguese magnifico will have been proud of the comments from former United players, players who won the treble at the club during the 1998/99 season, at least in respect of Neville and Giggs with May playing a slight role in that squad that season.
Speaking in the pre-match press conference ahead of United’s UEFA Europa League semi-final against Sevilla in Cologne on Sunday, the Portuguese midfielder was complimentary about the praise he has been given but feels that he should do a lot more than Cantona before he can be mentioned alongside him. Reported by The Mirror, Fernandes said:
“For me it is really good to talk about those names. But for me Cantona was an amazing player for the club, but I need to do much, much better to be compared to him.
“For me coming to Manchester is about winning trophies. I will be happy if we win the Europa League.”
Since signing for United in January, Fernandes has made a total of 21 appearances for United this season, scoring 11 goals and eight assists, which is a great start to his career at the club. In this season as a whole, Fernandes has made a total of 49 appearances, playing for both Sporting Clube de Portugal and United, scoring 26 goals and 22 assists – have 48 goal involvements which is nearly one every match played. Fernandes, who scored the penalty which beat FC Copenhagen, concluded by saying:
“I can’t say it was easy! The team helped me a lot, the staff. It was much easier for me.
“Maybe I already played in Italy so I know how it is to be in different leagues, but Premier League is different.
“I have the confidence from my club, my teammates and that helps you do your game.
“It is time to step up for big players, big game moments. You have to have 100% focus.
“We have learnt it is very painful to lose a semi-final.”
Written by John Walker