Pundits praise Bruno Fernandes' impact at Man Utd: 'Beyond anyone's expectation'

Fernandes has impressed in his first six weeks at Manchester United

Bruno Fernandes Man Utd
Image: Bruno Fernandes has made eight appearances for Manchester United so far

Bruno Fernandes' impact at Manchester United has been "beyond anyone's expectation", according to Gary Neville.

Fernandes, who signed for an initial £46.6m from Sporting Lisbon in January, has impressed for United in his first six weeks at the club, with United now unbeaten in 10 games as they look to form a challenge on the top four.

Here, we asked Sky Sports' pundits for their assessment on the Portuguese midfielder, and how exactly he has improved Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side...

Bruno Fernandes in the Premier League

Club rank (since debut)
Chances created 11 1st
Passes ending in final third 129 1st
Passes/crosses into box 48 1st
Touches 387 2nd

Nev: Bruno impact beyond everyone's expectation

Bruno Fernandes
Image: Fernandes celebrates with Anthony Martial after assisting the Frenchman for his opener against Man City

Gary Neville says Fernandes' impact has been greater than predicted, and signals a more thoughtful approach from United in terms of recruitment...

"Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's plan worked perfectly but he'll still be judged at the end of the season by getting into that top four. He's buying himself more time because five or six weeks ago I was worried.

"I was worried the club wasn't going to support him in the transfer market but Bruno Fernandes has made an impact beyond what anyone could have expected. Not just in possession but out of possession - the way he sprints and gets at people. He's hungry and it looks like it's rubbing off on everybody.

"They seem to be more thoughtful in terms of recruitment. The Ighalo signing seemed a little erratic but a few years ago Man Utd seemed to be playing Football Manager; Falcao's available! Di Maria's available! Schweinsteiger's available! I think now they realise that wasn't working."

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Keane: He's lifted everybody

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Roy Keane feels Fernandes has bedded in like a veteran United player at Old Trafford...

"He's lifted everybody at the club. It's as if he's been there 20 years. He's got pure quality. The big plus for Ole over the last year or so is that the recruitment seems to be getting better.

"He looks like he's going to be a big player for United for the next few years."

Merse: He ticks all the boxes

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Paul Merson says Fernandes is simply better than the players they had, and has proven to be the fulcrum for the side, improving the performances of Juan Mata, Nemanja Matic, and Anthony Martial...

"He's better than what they had. He's a good player, gets the ball, looks forward, and does everything a good player should do. He's a good buy.

"It doesn't matter what club you play at, from bottom of League Two to Liverpool at the top of the Premier League, you must buy players better than what you have. Sometimes you sign a player who lifts the dressing room, lifts the fans, and I just think he ticks the boxes.

"He has good energy, works his socks off, and on top of that he has guile, composure, and can see a pass. For me it was a really good signing, and for me I'm looking at it and thinking: 'Why has nobody else signed him?'

"He's come in, has started off flying, and everything is great. You only start passing the ball backwards and sideways when your confidence goes, but at the moment he's playing well and doing everything right. It's about how he reacts to having a couple of bad games, but nobody will know that until it happens, and at the moment he's ticked every box.

"He has a lot of pace in front of him, in Martial, James and Rashford when he comes back. He's also playing with Mata, who is on the same wavelength as him, and Matic, who will give him the ball simply when he knows better players are in front of him.

"All of a sudden, Matic is giving the ball to Fernandes or Mata, they are turning, and they have all of this pace in front of them. That was a proper performance from Manchester United against City, and Fernandes is like the fulcrum.

"Players only run if they know somebody is going to find them. You watch Fernando Torres at Liverpool, he made most of his runs when Gerrard got the ball. He knew he was going to be found."

Solskjaer: He's energised the whole club

ole
Image: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer praised Fernandes character, saying he has lifted the club

Fernandes' manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says the midfielder's character has uplifted the club behind the scenes, as well as praising his risk-taking on it...

"[Fernandes] has energised the whole place, the whole club. He has everything, he works hard, he is humble and has the desire and commitment but also has the X factor.

"He's a risk taker, has courage and is brave enough to make mistakes. If you make enough mistakes they will be corrected into fantastic assists or goals."

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