Bruno Fernandes has had a dream start at Manchester United since signing at the end of January.
He has scored three goals so far and provided four assists and his overall impact on Manchester United’s performances has been highlighted by an unbeaten run since he joined.
Fernandes’ personality has helped him become such a hit. He’s popular with teammates and with supporters, and he is a manager’s dream.
He has thrived in an attacking midfield role for United, where there was a big gap for a player of his calibre to come in.
In an interview with Sky Sports, Fernandes highlighted why he is different to usual playmakers, who often have the tag of being lazy.
He said: “Normally, everyone says the guys who are good on the ball are not good enough off the ball.
“I try to be better with the ball but also have in my mind these kinds of thing like the reaction when I lose it, being hungry when things don’t go wrong and hungry when you pass and it goes to your partner, but it’s not good enough and you need to do a little bit more.”
Exemplary attitude and modern player
In the modern game it is no longer enough for a number 10 to stand on his hips when he loses the ball and expect his teammates to win it back for him.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made clear his desire for his attackers to press without the ball, praising Jesse Lingard for doing this. Andreas Pereira did this effectively in the home draw with Liverpool back in October.
While both of those players do work hard off the ball, they can’t match the quality Fernandes possesses on it.
Fernandes is a level above these two and it has shown in his performance since he arrived.
His comments also show why he can play in more than one position too, as we saw in his debut against Wolves when he dropped deep. He has the work rate and is prepared to get stuck in.
His words show why he has been such a hit and why he is an inspiration to the players around him. He is driving up standards and United are getting results.
The new benchmark
When United go looking for new signings this summer, Fernandes will act as a benchmark.
United should expect new recruits to possess a similar attitude and be able to fit in with the demands Fernandes is setting for the team.
If United can find three players who can impact the team in the way Fernandes has, then we might genuinely be talking about a title challenging side.
There is a long way to go, and a high standard to reach, but Fernandes has got United dreaming again.
Importantly he is not simply expecting improvement, he is working for it. We have seen some players get to United in the past and act like they have ‘made it’, and fail. Fernandes has got it right, the hard work is just getting started, and it is expected in every single game.
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