Bruno Fernandes insists he is happy with the ‘pressure’ that comes with being compared to Manchester United legend Eric Cantona.
Fernandes has made a huge impact since signing for the Red Devils from Sporting Lisbon in 2020, starring following his initial mid-season arrival to help the club climb into the Champions League places.
The Portugal international has continued his rich vein of form during his first full campaign, breaking Frank Lampard’s record for a Premier League midfielder after scoring 28 goals in all competitions in 2020/21.
Fernandes’ transformative impact on the side has seen him compared to club great Cantona, whose signing from Leeds was widely viewed as the catalyst behind United’s early dominance of the Premier League era.
Fernandes has now discussed those comparisons and admits it is an ‘honour’ to be discussed alongside the Frenchman, admitting the Cantona comparisons give him additional motivation to ‘work harder’ and bring success to the club.
“It is an honour to be compared with him because the impact he had was really high and he won many major trophies with the club,” Fernandes told BBC Sport.
“But when you are compared with this kind of big player it means you need to be better every day. It makes me work harder to keep in the mind of the people, being compared with him. That, for me, is a good pressure.”
Fernandes admits he has been pleased with his performances since making the move to English football, the midfielder having been directly involved in 45 goals in just 57 appearances in all competitions this season.
📊 | Bruno Fernandes Premier League stats compared to other players:
— UtdXclusive 🔰 (@UtdXclusive) May 24, 2021
The 26-year-old has praised his teammates for their contribution to his success and says that he can continue firing with the right support from those around him.
“Of course, I did really well. I know that, from my numbers, my performance, everything,” he said.
“But this comes from the help and trust of my team-mates. They have helped me to be better every day. And if they help me, I know I can help them.”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have shown signs of steady improvement to finish as runners-up in the Premier League this season, whilst the Red Devils face Villarreal in the final of the Europa League tomorrow as the club look to end the season with silverware.
Fernandes says his side can see their own improvement and believes the squad are pushing in the right direction together, and is confident the club’s upward trajectory can continue next season.
“This team is improving,” Fernandes added. “Everyone can see it. We are growing up and understand together we can reach better things.
“The most important thing for me about next season is being all together; club, players and fans pushing to the same side. If we all do that we could do many good things next season, which, I am pretty sure, will be much better than this one.”