Bruno Fernandes’ views on 18 Man Utd teammates after one year at club
Bruno Fernandes has emerged as a leader in the Manchester United dressing room – but just what does he think of his team-mates?
The Portuguese playmaker joined from Sporting Lisbon one year ago today and has quickly become a focal point for the Red Devils.
The 26-year-old has garnered praise for his attitude on and off the pitch as well as his spectacular performances.
He wore the captain’s armband in the absence of Harry Maguire earlier this campaign and has taken on a major role in the dressing room.
He has also given numerous interviews during his year at the club – showing his views on various team-mates.
Here’s everything he’s said about those he plays with at Manchester United.
David de Gea
Fernandes is responsible for creating goals – but David de Gea is the man stopping them.
And whilst Fernandes has not commented directly on De Gea, he appears to appreciate the efforts of the Spaniard.
Fernandes put in a match-winning display in a 3-0 win at Brighton late last season but caught the eye with his reaction to a De Gea save after he had been substituted.
The Portuguese star was seen celebrating wildly on the bench in admiration at a stop from De Gea and showing his appreciation as he kept a clean sheet.
Fernandes and defender Victor Lindelof clashed in Manchester United’s Europa League exit at the hands of Sevilla last season.
But Fernandes quickly played down the incident and insisted the pair have a close bond in the dressing room.
Asked by A Bola about the former Benfica defender, Fernandes said: "He's [Lindelöf] one of the people with who I have one of the best relationships at the club, the fact that he can speak Portuguese benefits that relationship and, as everyone could see [against Sevilla], he stills speaks Portuguese really well.
”When we were saying farewell we hugged each other, heads bumping against one another and we didn't even have to talk as we hugged for two seconds knowing fully well what we wanted to say to each other.”
Eric Bailly has just broken back into the Manchester United team – and he has caught Fernandes’ eye.
After a dramatic late win against Wolves earlier this month, Fernandes commented on Bailly’s Instagram post stating: “My man of the match”.
He is clearly a fan.
After a tough start to the season for Harry Maguire, some called for Fernandes to take the captaincy.
But Fernandes threw his backing behind Maguire and underlined his huge impact at the club.
“Of course we are happy for Harry,” Fernandes told MUTV after a 4-1 win over Newcastle in October.
“Harry is a big player, he’s playing for one of the biggest teams in the world, he’s captain of one of the biggest teams in the world, he plays for a big national team so I think it’s bad being under fire but he has a great mentality and he needs to keep doing what he did today.
“Not about the goal he scored because it’s not what he has to do – of course he has to do that for the corners then he can help us like he did today – but defending as he defended, playing at the back as he played and give us the chance up front to be secure when we lose the ball.
“We know we have a great defence with him and the guys who played today and also the others who are on the bench at home.”
All eyes were on the relationship between Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes when the pair were united in a star-studded Manchester United midfielder.
After Pogba’s return from injury, Fernandes said last July: "Paul is an amazing player but I don't want to talk too much about me and Paul. It is not fair enough on the other team-mates.
"Of course Paul has such good qualities and is so much important for us and I think we can combine together.
“We have qualities and we can play together, but also we know we have some team-mates who can do very well when we are out.
“I think it's not fair on the other guys if we talk just about me and Paul.
“There are so many good players here. Look at the work of Scotty [McTominay], Nemanja [Matic]… these guys have done so well. Then you have Juan [Mata] and Jesse [Lingard] all excellent players, great No. 10s.”
Speaking about their relationship recently, he told NBC Sports: “The relationship I have with Paul is good. He speaks Italian and I speak Italian.
“When I arrived, he was injured. I saw him recovering and training on the pitch away from us.
“He was calling me sometimes when I was training and he said, "I’m seeing the games, I’m seeing your movement, don’t worry.
“When I’m fit, I will show you that I can find you. I see you move, you move to the right and to the left, in behind. When I come back, I will show you how I can find you a lot.”
Fernandes has found a new ally in the Manchester United attack after the arrival of Edinson Cavani this summer.
“For me, he's one of those strikers that can smell the goal, as you saw twice,” said Fernandes in November.
“He smelt the goal – you need to have this feeling to score these two goals.
“As I said some weeks and some months ago, Edi will help us and he's helping already.
“For me, one of the best games he played was against Basaksehir in the Champions League.
“Nobody talks about that because he didn't score, but he did an amazing game.
“He helps a lot and he will help more and more in the future.
“When you have strikers who move a lot, and they give you the chance to play balls for them, it is really good.
“I think every striker we have gives us options.
“I don't want to go on personally about Edi or another player because it's not fair, but of course Edi has qualities, everyone knows that.”
Fernandes’ arrival has severely limited opportunities for Juan Mata – but the experienced playmaker is still lending a helping hand.
After his free-kick to beat Liverpool last week, Fernandes said: 'I'm always working on that kind of situation. I like to watch and learn from Juan because I think he is a really good specialist.”
When the UK went into lockdown, he named Mata as the team-mate he would most like to be in isolation with.
He told United’s official website: “I would choose Juan, because if I isolate with Juan I can listen to my song all day, every day! He always sings it to me!
“It’s not the atmosphere of Old Trafford, but Juan is the kind of guy who puts all his heart in the song, so when he sings the music for me is really nice!
“Normally I arrive before him, and he comes at breakfast, gives me his hand and starts to sing the song – Bruno, Bruno, Bruno!”
Anthony Martial and Bruno Fernandes had a hot-streak when he first arrived – but he is not enjoying the Frenchman’s less prolific recent form.
Speaking to United's official website, Fernandes recently revealed: "With Marcus, there is always that kind of joke with him and Anto [Anthony Martial].
"I say to them every time I pass to them, they never score. They never give me assists. You see again that Anto missed that chance against Leeds.
"Straight away, I looked at him and started smiling. He understands what I mean with that. I think it’s good, it’s positive.
"Of course, sometimes you have to shout at your team-mate and call him to do different things, that’s also a big part of the game, that you’re pushing a bit more for the other team-mates.
"Sometimes it’s with a smile, sometimes with other things, but the most important thing is understanding you’re doing your best for the team."
Marcus Rashford has been in fine form this season – but he retained the backing of Fernandes even when the goals were not flowing.
Speaking last July, Fernandes said: “I think everyone is talking about Marcus not scoring a lot of goals but he is doing an amazing job.
“The game he is playing now, maybe he is not achieving his goals and everything but, with everything we are doing now, he will achieve more goals and more assists.
“In the games, in the complete football, because football is not just about goals and assists, it is about the team and Marcus is playing very well for the team.
“I hope Marcus can find more goals because he deserves it for the work he is doing for the team, and nobody sees it because everyone sees the goals and who scores and assists. The work he is doing for the team is amazing.
“Marcus was injured for a long time so it’s difficult to find that confidence again, to do things like shoot from far out. But he is doing an amazing job for the group and I think he deserves credit for this.”
Mason Greenwood is developing on the job in United’s front-line – and Fernandes reckons he will only get better.
"I think Mason has done a great season, of course," Fernandes said. "He's young and he has great numbers this season. The age is just a number and you see Mason has done very well.
"He can do much more because of the qualities he has and he still has to grow up physically. He did fantastically this season and he will get better.
“He needs to play more and get more confidence from his team-mates and the staff and I think he will get much better because he has that quality."
Jesse Lingard has come in for criticism and barely played since Fernandes signed – yet he backed the Englishman after he scored against Leicester in July.
He said: ”For me Jesse deserved this goal because for what he works all week, for all the comments every one is saying about him and other players because they don't play too much or they don't play good enough. I think this is the reason Jesse scored because we're training hard, training hard to help all the team.
"With him, Juan [Mata], Andreas [Pereira], Odion [Ighalo], the guys who can be at the front to score but also the defenders they push the guys who are playing to be at a higher level."
Fred has enjoyed arguably his best stint in a Manchester United shirt this season – after Fernandes told him to be like Paul Scholes!
He told the United podcast: “It’s funny, I remember when we were about to play Club Brugge [at home] last season, and I was in the dining room with Fred, and on the television they were playing all Paul Scholes’ goals in a Manchester United shirt.
"We had eaten, but we just stayed there to watch all of the goals of his. And it was funny because I was talking to Fred, and I said to him, ‘You see what Paul Scholes is doing, you need to be more closer to the goal, because if not, you will never score!’
"And then Fred, in that game, he scored twice!”
Fernandes has not commented directly on Daniel James – but the young Welshman has indicated he has taken him under his wing.
James told NBC Sport last season: “He speaks to me and other players about communication and what he likes to do.
"He's not played with us and he's had quite a few games now, he's getting better and better which comes down to the training ground.
"He's been a great player since he's coming in but it's about his character as well.”
Alex Telles has been highly complimentary of fellow Portuguese speaker Fernandes since he joined this summer.
And Fernandes recently gave an insight into the work Telles is doing to break into the Manchester United first-team.
He said: ”I think in training we stay there most of the time – me and Juan stay longer, but also Alex, Rashy [Marcus Rashford], Fred also stays with us."
Aaron Wan-Bissaka caught Fernandes off guard with a rare goal last season.
"[We were so happy] because we didn't know he can shoot!" Fernandes told MUTV after his strike against Newcastle.
"So it's difficult for us believing he can score because we never see him shooting.
"We were talking about it now in the dressing room and asking him because we all were thinking he wanted to cross and he makes a bad ball and scores.
"But I'm happy for him, he deserved the goal and we always ask this from him. Be more positive, be more in the box, try and improve because he has such good qualities.
“Everyone knows about him being a defensive player and everything but he needs to show that he's more than a defensive player and I think he has the qualities to show that."
Donny van de Beek
Donny van de Beek has struggled to displace Fernandes from the Manchester United side since signing from Ajax this summer – but Fernandes gave him support after their FA Cup win over Liverpool last weekend.
“We have a really good squad and we have options. If you look at the bench and the first XI today and the ones at home we have a really good squad, it will not be a problem if we change the team or someone is tired because we have really good players," Fernandes told MUTV.
“Donny did a great game, playing in the position I play watching him he moves really good, he played really well. It's important for us.
“If I was in the position of Donny I would not be happy at all but the most important is doing what he does today, coming in and helping the team.”
Scott McTominay’s quick-fire double against Leeds last month stunned many watching on – and earned him a new nickname from Fernandes.
Fernandes dubbed the midfielder "scottynaldinho" in a comment on Instagram, writing: "Football is really strange Well done scottynaldinho”.
McTominay replied: "oi we’ll be having words tomorrow me & you".
Young goalkeeper Nathan Bishop joined Manchester United in the same transfer window as Fernandes.
After signing a new deal until the summer of 2023, Fernandes wrote on Instagram: “Well deserved kid! Top lad and amazing professional.”
One to watch.
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