Man Utd playmaker Bruno Fernandes has laid down a marker to the club’s senior players ahead of their Europa League semi-final clash, while one club man could soon depart due to the Portuguese’s impact.
The 25-year-old has been a revelation since his January arrival from Sporting Lisbon.
His impact was both immense and immediate as Man Utd stormed up the table to secure a third-placed finish.
The prospect of a trophy is also a very real possibility, with the club hunting Europa League glory in the coming days.
The Red Devils face the tough prospect of Europa specialists Sevilla on Saturday night, and Fernandes insisted the onus must be on the club’s senior players to stand up and be counted.
“It is time to step up for big players, big game moments,” said Fernandes (via The Express). “You have to have 100% focus.
“We have learnt it is very painful to lose a semi-final.”
Fernandes has been compared to club legend Eric Cantona due to his dynamic displays. However, the playmaker isn’t quite ready to put himself in the same bracket as the Frenchman.
He explained: “For me it is really good to talk about those names.
“But for me Cantona was 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.”
Fernandes also believes the large fee Man Utd paid to bring him in from Sporting has given him confidence.
“When a club pays for a player £55million you have confidence,” he added.
“All the conversations I had with my coach and my teammates has helped me.
“When you have that voice on your own back telling you to do your own game it is easier for you.”
Fernandes’ impact forcing star’s exit?
The unequivocal success of Fernandes could lead to the departure of a long-time Man Utd squad player, according to a report.
Andreas Pereira has slid down the pecking order since Fernandes’ arrival, sparking speculation over an exit.
Just two starts have been granted Pereira’s way since January, with Solskjaer now described as being ‘open to cutting the Brazil international loose.’
The Times (via The Express) state that both Valencia and Benfica have shown interest in the 24-year-old.