It takes more than just talent to make yourself a hero to Manchester United fans – and Bruno Fernandes already looks like a player who just ‘gets’ what it means to play for the club.
Fernandes has made a remarkable impact since moving to Old Trafford in January, with only Liverpool (12) taking more points in the Premier League than United’s 11 since his debut.
But as well as his incredible talent, Fernandes also has exactly the right attitude to endear himself to a supporter base that has grown tired of some of the personalities to have represented the club in recent years.
Fernandes was typically outstanding in the Manchester derby, setting up the opening goal for Anthony Martial as well as two further chances, but there’s no doubt about what was his highlight.
Bruno telling Pep to shhh🤣🤣 pic.twitter.com/mMDlPbFRdf
— 🇨🇩🇸🇱 (@8Flavs) March 8, 2020
Not only has Fernandes lifted United’s standards with his own performances, he is also clearly demanding better of his team-mates. He can be regularly seen organising and cajoling players during games, but his most telling moment came after the 1-1 draw against Everton.
It was a point others may have been satisfied with, but Fernandes certainly was not. “With this draw, we need to be a little bit mad, because we need to do much better.”
And Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is clearly impressed with that attitude: “Bruno has come in as a leader and he has shown he is a leader.
“He is a winner. He does not take 99 percent as good enough.”
Not the result that we wanted but we’ll keep fighting to improve! Thank you for the amazing support today in the stands reds 🔴 Time to rest and get ready for the FA Cup 👊🏼 @premierleague @ManUtd pic.twitter.com/8QpF84RIik
— Bruno Fernandes (@B_Fernandes8) March 1, 2020
For too long, United fans have had the impression some of their players are more interested in fame and money than they are pulling on the red shirt.
Fernandes, however, seems genuinely delighted and honoured to represent the club. And though passion might sound like a stupid thing to praise a player for having, Fernandes’ enthusiasm seems to have rubbed off on other players. Not for a good while has one signing lifted spirits so much at United.
United fans, it would be fair to say, are not over enamoured with the way certain players represent themselves on social media, but it’s as if Fernandes has read a book on how to endear himself.
And from trolling Club Brugge to his banter with Anthony Martial and, best of all, liking the Premier League’s post after Watford beat Liverpool, Fernandes is following the hypothetical book to the letter.
— Bruno Fernandes (@B_Fernandes8) March 8, 2020
Above all else, of course, the reason United fans have taken Fernandes to their hearts so quickly is that he’s absolutely f*cking ace.
He has now directly contributed to a goal every 96 minutes in the Premier League with three assists and two goals from just five appearances. He has created more chances, had more shots on goal, played more passes into the box and more passes in the final third than any other United player since his arrival.
He sees things they never see.
Ole: "Bruno's imagination, his picture is a couple of seconds ahead of other players.
"If that picture doesn’t work as he thought, he’ll change it. I think that composure has been important for us as well."
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 26, 2020