Peter Crouch has lavished praise on Bruno Fernandes following the midfielder’s starring display in Manchester United’s 3-0 win over Watford this weekend.
The Portuguese international was amongst the club’s stand-out performers during an impressive showing at Old Trafford, scoring for the first time since his high-profile move from Sporting Lisbon last month with a well-taken penalty.
Fernandes would also play his part in Manchester United‘s second and third goals as Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood sealed an important victory for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, and Crouch was left impressed by the performance of the midfielder who he says has lifted the club since his arrival.
“Watching Fernandes run the show against Watford showed exactly what United have been missing while Paul Pogba has been injured. He has got a bit of arrogance about him that I quite liked to be honest,” Crouch said on Match of the Day 2.
“They have not had anyone playing with that kind of confidence or flair, because it has not been that kind of season for them.
“So, to now have someone who gets the fans off their seats is massive for them – and you can understand why the supporters have taken to him so quickly because he is exactly what they and the team needed.
“Fernandes lifted the whole stadium on Sunday and, as well as the part he played in all three goals, what was impressive about him was his range of passing and the way he carried the ball.
Bruno Fernandes’ game by numbers vs. Watford:
7 passes into the box
4 chances created
3 fouls won
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“On top of that, he was full of tricks and he showed great awareness.
“He is clearly someone who can unlock a defence, which is something else United have been lacking while Pogba is out and since Juan Mata has gone off the boil.”
In addition to the 25-year-old’s influential role in the victory, Crouch was full of praise for Fernandes’ character and leadership, and has backed the marquee signing to get ‘better and better’ after hitting the ground running following his mid-season move to the Premier League.
“It takes a big character for someone to arrive at a club like United and instantly take on the responsibility of being their most creative player. But everything was going through Fernandes on Sunday and he was very comfortable with that.
“He was telling his team-mates what he wanted and he looks like a leader as well, so that is another thing he brings to the table that United needed.
“For his goal, I liked the fact that straight after he was fouled he was saying, ‘Give me the ball, I want the penalty’. And the way he took a little skip before casually stroking home the penalty was more proof that he has got a bit of arrogance about him. He was like a breath of fresh air.
“He has done all of this after joining in January too, and at a team who were not playing well and needed to sign someone to make an instant impact. He has definitely done that.
“Yes, it will have helped that he was playing well for Sporting before he made the move to England but he has still come to a different country and had to adjust to the Premier League. Despite all that, he has hit the ground running.
“It is true that it is not always the case that you have a harder time when you join a club in the middle of a campaign – I have experienced that for myself.
“You can have a honeymoon period at first and then the real work begins the next season when it can be a struggle because people expect more of you.
“I don’t think that will happen to Fernandes, though. We have seen glimpses of his quality but there is a lot more to come from him, and I think he will get better and better.”
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