Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar has been handed strong advice about ensuring he gets the best out of Bruno Fernandes from a coach who knows the midfielder’s ability well.
Fernandes arrived at United late on in January after over two weeks of talks between the Red Devils and Sporting Lisbon, making his debut in a 0-0 draw with Wolves earlier this month.
The Portugal international showed glimpses of his talent in that game and will be expected to push on following the end of the Premier League’s winter break.
One coach who knows Fernandes well is Rio Ave manager Carlos Carvalhal, whose side are in the Primera Liga alongside Sporting and have beaten the club twice this season with Fernandes scoring on both occasions.
Carvalhal said: “He is not a No 10. He is a midfielder but he has developed that ability to break the line of the defence to score goals. He shoots, he assists, the passes and the free-kicks.
“But he is not a 10, he is an 8. He is a box-to-box player who understands very well the game. He doesn’t just play. He understands everything that happens around him.
“He can organise the team, he can talk, he can give feedback. He is kind of like a manager on the pitch. He can organise things in the last part of the pitch. He is a really exciting player.
“He has been the best player in the Portuguese league for two years minimum. He is in that group of players who are among the best in the world.”
Carvalhal added that Fernandes already has the ability to switch on in defensive transitions, a trait lacking among many Premier League players.
“Sometimes these technical players, it is their quality in the defensive transition that is a problem in the Premier League. When they lose the ball, they don’t react quickly enough to win it back, but he has developed a lot in the past two seasons.
“When his team loses the ball, he reacts quickly to win the ball back. That is important in England. He is not lazy, he is the opposite. A fighter. He has everything to be a key player.”
United headed into the winter break six points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, who they face in their next game on Monday.
In other news, United are willing to battle with Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid for the signing of defender Mohamed Salisu, according to a report.
The Real Valladolid centre-back has earned plaudits for his impressive performances after coming through the club’s academy.
According to AS, United are preparing to make a bid when the transfer window opens in the summer, but both Madrid clubs are also keen on the 20-year-old.