Sky Sports exclusive: Bruno Fernandes discusses his instant impact, working under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and that exchange with Pep Guardiola
Monday 16 March 2020 13:46, UK
Bruno Fernandes already has his own song and has quickly become a fan favourite at Manchester United. The midfielder sat down with Laura Woods to reveal all on his first month at Old Trafford.
The 25-year-old has been a revelation since his arrival on January 29, sparking the United midfield into life and propelling them to a 10-match unbeaten run in all competitions.
He already has three goals and three assists in eight appearances, and after just over a month at the club, believes they are moving in the right direction.
"The decision was easy because when I had the chance to come, I didn't think twice," he told Sky Sports' Woods. "I talked with Sporting, who had already had some discussions with Man United about my transfer and when they talk with me, I told them my first choice was Man United and it's what I need for my career.
"I see the same team from one month ago. I think we are the same and have a lot of hunger to win, to give a lot, to do better and better in every game. In the last month, we've had a lot of really good games and I think we can talk about a new start after Bruno, but it's not about Bruno, it's about the team.
"The team needs the right focus, the right decisions at the time and I think also if Bruno doesn't come, Man United would win the same because one player doesn't change a team. A team changes when everyone pushes together for the same side. When I arrived, I saw the team pushing for the same side and to win games, get better and I'm another player to help.
In one of the hallmarks for any top footballer, Fernandes already has his own song and has quickly become a fan favourite. But why does he think that is?
"I don't know, but it's really nice," he says with a smile. "The support I've received from the fans since the first day is amazing. In the first game, I listened afterwards to the song they have for me and I thought 'I've been here for two days and they already have a song'.
"I need to give something to the fans, not because they sing my song, but they give me the support I need to help my team-mates and to help United be better.
"I need to love them back in the same way because the love they give me in this first month is really good. If I don't have the support of them, it would be more difficult for me to come out and be myself, to be confident and do what I want to do in the game, to take some risks with the ball.
"You will take the risk and maybe you fail but they are there to support you and give you the push you need to try again."
Fernandes has been under the tutelage of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for just over a month and the midfielder is pleased with the techniques employed by the manager.
"It's difficult because it's been one month, but he's always careful with the details and for me, that's important because it is one of the things which changes football now is looking for the details.
"Now, every coach is really good, they look at each other and learn from each other and so the game is difficult. Now you have videos and most teams know what you will do, where you will place the ball, where they need to press so the game becomes harder and harder.
"I think he's really good on this and he was a footballer so he knows when he needs to talk to players, when he needs to give q good word or sometimes come and push you to give more. I think when you have a past in football, you understand these things more than when you don't have [a past].
"But sometimes you have coaches who never play football and they also know this too so it depends coach from coach but I think Ole is really careful with these kind of points. He wants perfection, which is impossible, but he tries to ask more and more from us.
"I think the coach is always important for a new player when you come in. With me, it was really important because you need to feel confidence from the other side. When you need to change, and it's a big change coming from another country to a big club with big players, you need to be ready.
"I think when I arrived here, the coach was really important but more than the coach was my team-mates because when you have the confidence of your team-mates, it's much better and easier for you."
Fernandes has grown particularly close to fellow countryman Diogo Dalot, who has helped him settle into life at United.
"I have a car for a week but Diogo wants to take me [to training] and we go together," he explained. "Normally, we are early and sometimes Phil [Jones] comes earlier than us, but I think Diogo wants company so I go with him to breakfast together or to the gym but it's about partnerships.
"Since I arrived, he's helped me a lot. In the first days, I slept at his home because I'm in a hotel but he tells me to go to his home and he helped me to do everything. I'm really happy to have Diogo here because in the first few days, he helped me a lot."
With Paul Pogba injured for much of the season, Fernandes has slotted seamlessly into that midfield role and he pointed out the differences in his game.
"I think I'm a different player from the others. Everyone has a different mould to play, maybe I take more risks, maybe other players don't take as many, maybe I shoot more, some players pass more, some of the players make more tackles, everyone is different in a club. Some players are similar but they're never the same player.
"I'm a player who normally likes to take the risk, give the last pass and try to give more assists to my team-mates so I need to take the risk. It doesn't matter for me if someone off the field is not happy about my pass, I will respect it but I will keep trying.
"Normally, everyone says the guys who are good on the ball are not good enough off the ball. I try to be better with the ball but also have in my mind these kinds of thing like the reaction when I lose it, being hungry when things don't go wrong and hungry when you pass and it goes to your partner, but it's not good enough and you need to do a little bit more.
"I think I look at the details because if you want to be better and one of the best, you need to look at the details. It's not about finishing the game and if you get an assist and have a good game, you don't need to watch the game to see if you made some mistakes or not.
"And when you think 'today I didn't play really well so I need to watch everything and see where I did my mistakes'. Sometimes, when I feel like I played a bad game, I don't watch [it back]. I have in my mind that I need to do better and I know what I did wrong because you know what is the wrong pass, the wrong shot, the wrong decision and when you do well, you have to look.
"Maybe you have an assist but you need to look at if that assist can be better because sometimes, it be better but you can't do better. It's difficult to explain but think I need to look at the details to be better."
Fernandes caused quite the stir in Sunday's 2-0 win against Manchester City, making a shushing gesture at Pep Guardiola on the touchline.
Explaining the incident, he said: "I talked about this with some friends and some people think Pep won everything, who is Bruno to do this to him?
"But I think it's about respect. Now, when I'm outside of the pitch and calm, I don't do this again if I'm on the pitch now but in that moment, the words he tells make me mad and I'm a little bit nervous and this is the kind of player I am.
"I am so respectful of Pep and what he's won and what he did for football but at that moment, he didn't respect me and he didn't deserve my respect. But for me, it doesn't matter what happens on the pitch, now we're out of it and it's past. I have respect for him, so it doesn't matter what he said."