Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has revealed that Bruno Fernandes’ ‘fire’ and ‘character’ were what convinced him to sign the midfielder in a long-awaited move from Sporting Lisbon.
The Portuguese international joined Manchester United during the January transfer window and has made a seamless transition into English football, scoring three times and providing two assists in six appearances.
Fernandes has quickly established himself as a fans’ favourite and Solskjaer has now praised the midfielder’s impact following his arrival, revealing a scouting trip to Portugal convinced the club that the 25-year-old had the ‘character’ and ability to thrive in the Premier League.
“When you go and see them live you just get that feeling of the player,” he told Sky Sports.
“What impressed me most that day was his personality. We knew about his skills and qualities.
“If you follow him and watch him all the time [you notice] that he cares so much and wants to win, he had that fire in him. I thought, yep, that’s the character we need.
“He won’t let anyone down. Letting the team down is the same as letting himself down. He wants to win and he knows we [win] together, everyone plays an important part. He’s been a positive boost.”
Solskjaer added that he feels Fernandes has settled quickly into the dressing room following his arrival from Lisbon, noting the development of a promising relationship with fellow playmaker Juan Mata.
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“For me, it was easier because I came to a team with better players around me, I just had to do the right things, the same as I used to do but a little bit quicker, doing things and knowing the ball will come.
“I hope it is the same for Bruno – ‘I’m comfortable here but I need need to step up my game as well because it is a big club and there are better players’.
“When you see Juan (Mata) and Bruno sometimes in training, you can see there are on the same wavelength.”
Fernandes’ arrival has coincided with an upturn in form for United who currently sit fifth in the Premier League, three points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea in the race to secure Champions League football.
Solskajer has discussed the qualities the creative midfielder has brought to his side, and believes Fernandes’ fearlessness has instantly endeared him to the club’s support.
“You need courage, you need to be a risk-taker at Manchester United. The fans demand it, the club demands it, it is what we’ve been brought up on with Sir Alex,” he added.
“Bruno coming in has boosted the players but for the supporters as well, they can see that we are putting pieces in place.
“I think most of them understand that you can’t put six or seven pieces in one go. We’ve had four decent pieces in the jigsaw.”