Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes has warned the clubs rivals that he will be more lethal next season. Since his arrival during the January transfer window and making his debut for the club at the start of February, Fernandes, 25, has made 22 appearances for the club, scoring 12 goals and eight assists – giving him 20 goal contributions in 22 appearances. In total during the 2019/20 season, playing for both United and Sporting Clube de Portugal, the midfielder has made 50 appearances, scoring 27 goals and 22 assists – 49 goal contributions in 50 appearances.
United were in a bad position in the Premier League as Fernandes was signed by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer during the winter transfer window with United seeming out of sorts in the race for top four. However, with United undefeated in the Premier League in their last 14 matches, it changed their fortunes with the club, at one stage, 14 points behind Leicester City, taking on the likes of them and Chelsea to finish third in the league, therefore earning a UEFA Champions League group stage place next season.
Fernandes scored eight penalties this season with United awarded a record 22 penalties during the course of the season – something that has upset the ABUs which is always great entertainment. The Portuguese magnifico feels that his performances could get better next season, which is a great sign. It has been a long time before a player like Fernandes has been at United and it is great to see that he is determined to earn some success at the Old Trafford club. Speaking to UEFA.com, Fernandes said:
“I don’t have a secret. I think that I train a lot, I like to train a lot. I always pay attention to what the goalkeepers are doing – how they position themselves, how they best prevent shots on goal.
“Based on that, based on the match, and based on how I’m feeling on the pitch, I decide how to take a penalty. I don’t have a specific technique in taking penalties. There’s no certain run-up I take, I just stick to what I feel is most comfortable.
“If I change it every so often, it might make the goalkeeper uncertain. I change my run-up for how I’m feeling during the match, or how I feel the goalkeeper [will move].”
Despite only making 14 appearances in the Premier League during the 2019/20 season, Fernandes quickly became a superstar in the league, despite scoring many penalties in the league. His determination and winning mentality seemed to change something in this United squad which inspired them to push for a third-place Premier League finish, even though the club did not take the advantages handed to them then those above them had dropped points. Fernandes spoke about his instinct, which is something the best footballers tend to have, which could be the major change at United. The Portuguese midfielder said:
“It’s instinct. Over the years, because of the position in which I was playing, I developed my ability to move around and look forward.
“When we lose the ball, I try to be the first one to react and to call on the other attacking players to help out in winning back possession.
“And obviously for me, to be able to build up the play, to have the ball and provide passes to my team-mates to enable them to score goals – it’s very important.
“I think that’s what I need to do a bit more because, yes, I’ve provided some assists but I could have provided more, given the quality we have up front.
“I believe I can improve on my numbers given the quality we have up front.”
When United signed Fernandes, and he started to show what he could do earlier this season, you could see that it was going to be a match made in heaven for United. The fact that the club waited so long was the major problem. If United signed Fernandes last summer, when he was heavily linked to the club, the season could have been a little bit better for United, especially at a time whereby both Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay were missing from the squad due to injury – but hindsight is fantastic, eh? The best thing is that Fernandes is a United player now and will be for years to come. United should be able to achieve things if the rebuild is allowed to continue, otherwise, things may start to fall apart once again.
Written by John Walker