Tony Cascarino has compared the impact of Bruno Fernandes on Manchester United to that of Kevin De Bruyne and the Belgian midfielder’s impact on cross-city rival Manchester City.
Having joined Man City in 2015 with high expectations, the last two seasons have seen the Belgian midfielder become one of the most dominant forces in world football.
With Manchester United lagging behind their rivals for a number of seasons now, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side received a huge boost in January with the signing of £47 million attacking midfielder Bruno Fernandes.
The former Sporting Lisbon player made an immediate impact at the club before the lockdown and has returned to action in equally impressive form. The Portuguese international has been central to United’s 16-game unbeaten run which sees them just two points off the Champions League places, something that seemed almost impossible a few months ago.
Former Irish international striker Tony Cascarino believes Fernandes has made a similar impact to De Bruyne which has been vital against the lower-placed teams especially.
“Bruno Fernandes has not just added his qualities to the Manchester United team, he is making other players better,” he wrote in his column for The Times.
“He has three players in front of him who all have pace and make clever runs, and suddenly they now have a teammate who can see them and find them.
“He gives United something close to what Kevin De Bruyne gives Manchester City, and it has been especially important for United in games against lower-placed opponents who defend deep and can be tough to open up.”
Fernandes has become an instant fan favourite among United supporters and in recent weeks seems to have struck up a bond with record-signing Paul Pogba, who at times has irked the club’s supporters since rejoining the club in 2016.
The pair were seen in discussion on Saturday prior to Fernandes’ superb free-kick in their 5-2 win over Bournemouth at Old Trafford.
The Portuguese international has confirmed that Pogba gave him some advice on how to approach the set-piece. According to Fernandes, Pogba instructed him to shoot across the goalkeeper rather than attempted to curl the ball into the top corner and it worked.
Fernandes also discussed how Nemanja Matic and Harry Maguire formed a second wall prior to the free-kick as it was something that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer routinely asks his players to do.
“This is one thing the coach always says. He always talks to me about this, about putting another wall,” Fernandes told BT Sport.
“I can’t listen to this because it was so far but Nema [Nemanja Matic] and H [Harry Maguire] did an amazing job. So with H and Nema in front, I think I can try my chance in the side of the keeper.
“Paul knows the keeper or he thinks the keeper can suffer in this side. I trusted him and I scored.
“Sometimes you need to do your own thing but sometimes if you listen, your team-mates can help you and help the team and Paul in that moment, he helps me.”