Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has praised Bruno Fernandes’ winning mentality and leadership qualities, despite the Portugal international not being afraid to tell it like it is to his Manchester United teammates.
Having spent his early career somewhat under the radar in Italy and Portugal, the 26-year-old has quickly emerged as arguably the club’s most important player, both on and off the pitch.
The creative midfielder has been in stellar form since making his debut back in February, and has already registered a mightily impressive 34 goal contributions in just 35 games for the club in all competitions.
Not only is he now the first name on the team sheet, but the former Sporting Lisbon man has already showcased his abilities as a leader both in games and in the dressing room and even took on the captain’s armband for Manchester United‘s 2-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain earlier this season.
Such leadership has not gone unnoticed with his manager, with the Ole Gunnar Solskjaer revealing the positive influence that Fernandes has had on the Red Devils squad, even when he’s dishing out criticism.
“Bruno is not just giving out rollockings, he’s also instructing players,” he said at his pre-match press conference. “We can all learn from his mentality and mindset – that winning mentality.
Bruno Fernandes in the league and European competition since the start of the 2017-18 season:
✅ 139 games
⚽ 71 goals
🎯 48 assists
Directly involved in a goal every 101 minutes… from midfield. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/ml6C0W2r6s
— Football Factly (@FootballFactly) November 29, 2020
“If it’s 2-0 he wants 3-0, if it’s 4-0 he wants 5-0. He always wants the team to improve.
“In the heat of the moment, people are also allowed to air their frustration and be angry for a second or two.
“If it lingers on that’s a different scenario. But I’ve been in a team and I like my teams to have that inner justice, where it’s not just the managers and the coaches who shout.
“I want players to take responsibility and put other players into their places when it’s necessary. They’re out there fighting for one cause – and that’s for the team to win.
“The players have reacted really well to Bruno. We see different kinds of leadership. Some lead by example, some lead by both. And once in a while you just have to take a rollicking when you deserve one.”
Aside from his leadership abilities on and off the field, Solskjaer is pleased with Fernandes’ fearlessness in the pressure moments.
“Bruno has come in and said ‘I’m not afraid of anything here’. That’s how you should be. You shouldn’t be afraid of anything on a football pitch. When you’re on the pitch you should feel free and step up and be confident. We all need to step up and improve – especially in difficult times – and Bruno has done that.
Bruno Fernandes can make passes your brain isn't even capable of comprehending 🤯pic.twitter.com/pZvJ23tSvY
— Football Faithful (@FootyFaithful_) November 24, 2020
“He has stepped up and taken penalties – like at Brighton in the 98th minute or at Leicester last season to qualify for the Champions League. Those are the pressure moments he likes.
“That is the sign of a Manchester United player – a player who can step up when it might go wrong.
“If you’re 4-0 up, 5-0 up and you’re ‘I want to show my flicks and style, I want to take a penalty then’ well that’s a different mindset.
“Bruno has had a fantastic influence and impact in that respect.”