Fernandes added another matchwinning moment to his growing collection against Liverpool with a beautiful free-kick.
Bruno Fernandes was the hero again for Manchester United on Sunday.
Having started United’s FA Cup clash against Liverpool on the bench, the Portuguese playmaker was summoned by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with the match delicately poised at 2-2.
And 12 minutes after replacing the ineffective Donny van de Beek, Fernandes was presented with an opportunity to swing the game in United’s favour.
United were awarded a free-kick on the edge of Liverpool’s box following Fabinho’s foul on Edinson Cavani.
While Fernandes placed the ball, Marcus Rashford and Fred also had eyes for the goal.
Fernandes was not to be denied, though. Striking the ball cleanly with his right boot, Fernandes looked up to watch his free-kick fly past Liverpool keeper Alisson.
It proved to be the matchwinner and the latest meaningful contribution from Fernandes at the end of a golden first 12 months at Old Trafford.
— Bruno Fernandes (@B_Fernandes8) January 24, 2021
Of course, such dead-ball mastery does not come easily. David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo were renowned for spending hours on their free-kick technique after training, and it sounds like Fernandes has adopted a similar approach.
‘I like to watch Mata’ – Fernandes
After the game, Fernandes told the United website which five players stay behind in training to hone their set-piece skills.
“I like to watch and learn from Juan [Mata] because I think he is a really good specialist,” he said.
“I think in training we stay there most of the time – me and Juan stay longer. But also Alex [Telles], Rashy [Marcus Rashford] and Fred stay with us.”
Fernandes proceeded to admit that he feels more confident over free-kicks that are closer to goal, whereas Rashford is often the leading candidate to take one from long range (like his sublime effort in the League Cup against Chelsea in October 2019).
“I think normally a little bit more long distance is for Rashy,” said United’s No.18.
“I think he feels more comfortable [from there], for me it is the same, to go the [closer] distance.
“I think closer to the box is better for me, for the kind of shot I have. If Juan and Alex are on the pitch it’s a chance for them, more on the right side.
“I think we have good free-kick specialists. I think we have some players who can take [good free-kicks].
“It depends on the moment and in that moment, I felt I was confident to take the free-kick. It was me and luckily it was a goal.”