Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has likened Bruno Fernandes’ ‘influence’ at Manchester United to Cristiano Ronaldo following the midfielder’s stunning ‘impact’ since moving to Old Trafford.
Fernandes has established himself as one of the Premier League‘s most influential players since signing from Sporting Lisbon during the January transfer window, providing 34 goal contributions in just 35 fixtures in all competitions for the Red Devils.
The Portugal international scored twice during the mid-week Champions League win over Istanbul Basaksehir to become the fastest midfielder in the club’s history to reach 20 goals, with only three players – Ruud van Nistelrooy, Robin van Persie and Zlatan Ibrahimovic – have reached the landmark in quicker fashion this century.
Solskjaer has lavished praise on the 26-year-old and has compared his influence to that of compatriot Ronaldo, who enjoyed a glittering six-year spell at Manchester United, winning three league titles, the Champions League and the Ballon d’Or.
The Norwegian played alongside Ronaldo and believes Fernandes’ ‘influence’ and ‘impact’ on the dressing room is comparable to his former teammate, praising the midfielder as a leader of his emerging side.
📊 Fewest apps to reach 20 goals for Man Utd (all comps) this century:
2️⃣5️⃣ Ruud van Nistelrooy
2️⃣6️⃣ Robin van Persie
3️⃣3️⃣ Zlatan Ibrahimovic
3️⃣5️⃣ BRUNO FERNANDES#UCL #MUFC pic.twitter.com/UycrRDjE4Q
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) November 24, 2020
“Bruno has that presence [like Ronaldo] and an influence and an impact on his team-mates,” said Solskjaer at his pre-match press conference.
“You just need to look at the results we’ve had since he’s come in. He’s got loads of energy, he’s got leadership, he is a team player – which is the key now here for us going forward. Some players will have to sit games out and rest.
“I wasn’t looking forward to telling Bruno when he was rested against RB Leipzig but it was absolutely no problem. Same with Marcus to be fair. They know this season will be challenging and this is how we build this team and the culture of the team – that it’s about the team and not the individuals.
“I think Bruno has proven that over and over, that it is ‘the team before I’.”