Bruno Fernandes' 'personality and fire' convinced me to sign him for Man Utd, says Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Solskjaer also discusses a potential extension for Odion Ighalo this summer and why David de Gea vs Dean Henderson is a problem Man Utd want to have next season
By Husmukh Kerai
Last Updated: 05/03/20 9:54pm
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has revealed how a scouting trip to Portugal to scout Bruno Fernandes ultimately convinced him to bring him to Old Trafford.
Fernandes completed a long-awaited big-money move to United from Sporting Lisbon in the January window and has made a seamless transition to life in the Premier League.
- Giggs: Fantastic Fernandes has lifted Man Utd
- Ole: Rooney a future Man Utd manager
- Derby vs Man Utd preview
He has scored three goals and contributed two assists in only his first five starts for the club, lifting United's form as they battle to qualify for next season's Champions League while also quickly becoming a fan favourite with the Old Trafford faithful.
Solskjaer spoke of the qualities he instantly saw when he went to watch the midfielder in person.
"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 feels Fernandes has settled in quickly because he is surrounded by quality in United dressing room and also revealed how he is already seen him dovetail in training with fellow creative midfielder Juan Mata.
The United manager said: "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."
When asked to pick out a key quality that Fernandes brings to United, Solskjaer was quick highlight his penchant of taking risks, which also endears to the club's supporters.
"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."
'Ighalo extension, who knows?'
Odion Igahlo, who has joined on loan until the end of the season, may not have begun his United career with the same flourish as Fernandes, but Solskjaer says he has also been a "breath of fresh air" at the club and did not rule out potentially extending his stay come the summer.
"It doesn't hurt [living the dream] but he's here on merit, he's here because he is a goalscorer and a different type of striker for us," Solskjaer said.
"We might get to the summer and think we want to extend this, who knows?
"He's come in as a breath of fresh air as well. He had chances in his five minutes against Chelsea, he scored against Bruges, he had chances against Watford, he had a very good save [from a shot] against Everton - there have been good saves, he doesn't miss the target very often.
"Even for Anthony (Martial), Mason (Greenwood) and Marcus (Rashford) to learn that it is where the sharks are swimming. It's comfortable outside the box and you can have a few shots. It's in there where it might be a bit tougher and you might get hurt - that's where you get goals."
'De Gea vs Henderson - a problem Man Utd need'
Solskjaer defended David de Gea as the 'best goalkeeper in the world' after his error allowed Everton to take the lead in Sunday's 1-1 draw at Goodison Park.
A few days after the game, the United boss reiterated his opinion and said the Spain international has dealt with external criticism without a problem.
"He still is [the best]. I was wrong in the press after the game because I thought (Dominic) Calvert-Lewin was offside but he wasn't - so the save he made got the point for us. David's fine, he is good as ever."
When asked about the possibility of Dean Henderson, currently on loan at Sheffield United, starting for England at Euro 2020 and then potentially unseating De Gea as United's No 1, Solskjaer says that is precisely the type of predicament the club should be in.
Join the debate
Comment below to the join debate, but please respect our House Rules. If you wish to report any comment, simply click on the down arrow next to the offending comment and click 'Report'
"That's Man Utd!", he exclaimed. "You should have a nice problem, you should have two or three challenging for the same positions. That's what we are trying to get to."