Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes has set his sights on UEFA Europa League glory this season after helping the club finish in third place in the Premier League this season, therefore helping the club earn UEFA Champions League football next season. The player only arrived at the club during the January transfer window and has been a revelation for the club since his arrival, only tasting defeat once; against Chelsea in the Emirates FA Cup semi-final at Wembley.
So far this season, Fernandes has played just 20 times for United and has scored 10 goals and eight assists, achieving a goal contribution every 0.90 match, which is a good to see and shows how well he has fit into Ole Gunnar Solskjaer team this season, paying so few matches and fitting in almost right away. It was reported last week that Fernandes could cost United a further £9 million this summer, after their initial £46.6 million outlay, as reported by The Mirror. This is good though as it means the player is on the road to achieving at the Old Trafford club.
Earlier this year, United found themselves 14 points behind Leicester City, who were in the top four of the Premier League for the majority of the season, clawing that back and toppling the club by four points, in effect earning 18 points more than Leicester to be in the position that finished the season in earning that all important Champions League groups stage place, finishing four points clear of the club, which was Solskjaer’s main objection this season.
United did have two options to earn Champions League football next season but because of their league position, they will no longer need to win the Europa League to gain their objective, now able to go for glory based on an ambition to win trophies. United will face LASK in the round of 16 stage second leg next week then could face either Istanbul Basaksehir or Copenhagen in the quarter-finals which is set to be played in Cologne, which could be United’s base if they go all the way to the final, which is what Fernandes wants to do. Reported by The Mirror, the Portuguese midfielder said:
“Now our focus is on the Europa League, because this is a really good trophy and we want to win.
“I came to Manchester to win trophies. We need to play every game to win. If we go into the Europa League and win every game, we know we’ll win the trophy.
“We have qualities enough to fight for some titles – more than one title. We need to win some trophies and then we’ll be really happy.”
It is good to see a player take things so seriously. Fernandes has shown his ability this season, helping United rediscover their spark which saw both Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial score 22 goals each so far this season, also seeing Mason Greenwood score 17 goals in his first full season in the first team. It is only right that winners like Fernandes will want to win trophies and setting his sights on the Europa League is a good sign. Perhaps he can inspire his teammates to go for glory, now that there is nothing else on the line in this tournament. Fernandes also spoke about reaching the Champions League next season, saying:
“We feel good, it’s what we wanted. We trained hard and worked hard for this moment.
“Of course, playing Champions League is always special and I hope it can be with the supporters, that will be more special.
“We deserve to be in the best games, in the best European competition. Nothing against the Europa League, but everyone knows the best competition is the Champions League.”
The future is looking good for United. This summer will be an important one for Solskjaer to continue his rebuild of the club. Now that the pressure of the Premier League and a top four finish is over and down with, with the club completing their objective, the player will be able to rest for the best part of a week before getting themselves ready for the Europa League. Granted, many might be rested from the LASK match with the tie seemingly won but they might be on the bench, just in case.
Written by John Walker