When Bruno Fernandes signed for the Red Devils on the 29th of January of 2020, hardly anyone could have predicted him to turn out the way he did. Not only has he provided Manchester United with a world-class no.10, but has also helped changed the culture of the legendary English club.
Has Bruno Saved Manchester United?
Bruno: More Than a Creator
When people think of Bruno, they tend to think of his penalties and his top-class passing. But what many people tend to ignore is his work rate and his presence on the field. This aspect of Bruno’s game was apparent from the first 15 minutes of his debut.
Playing against Wolverhampton Wanderers, Bruno was ready for war from the start. 13 minutes into his debut, the Portuguese went in for a sudden 50/50 challenge with fellow countryman, Joao Moutinho.
This shows Bruno’s warrior spirit. Manchester United may not be the same time they used to be a few years ago and optimism may be running low at Old Trafford for the best few seasons, but the cloud of doom and gloom is finally fading from the club and Bruno is one of the reasons for it.
They may not have had the best season recently, but it is no longer a club in crisis. It is no fluke that this mentality change has coincided with the arrival of their new Portuguese darling.
Fernandes’ impact on Manchester United has been unprecedented. The club has not seen such a big change in the club’s mentality and performance since the arrival of the “king” Eric Cantona.
He has changed the way his teammates approach the game and brings a similar aggressive side to the game as Cantona.
It was apparent from the first training session what he brings to the game. He wants the ball in any and every situation, no matter how tight space or who is man-marking him, and he wants to get the ball forward and attack. Bruno is ready to take risks, even if they go wrong once in a while.
His admission in the squad has allowed United to play their trademark attacking football. Long gone are the days of Louis Van Gaal, where United was frustrating to watch in the league. They play with a sense of urgency now and with a desire to win.
Bruno has affected individual players also. Scott Mctominay has had a new enthusiasm for his game. He thrives under pressure and with Bruno by his side, Scott has pushed himself beyond expectations and has continued to impress Solskjær.
Fred has looked different on the pitch, ever since Bruno’s arrival. The pair have bonded from the start, conversing in Portuguese even during games. Fred has looked sharper and more hard-working on the pitch.
Anthony Martial is another player who has benefitted from the Portuguese’s admission to the squad. The goal from Bruno’s freekick against rival Manchester City in the derby showed what is to come for years if Martial decides to stay at the club.
A Fan Favourite
His outspoken attitude combined with his absolutely outlandish numbers for the club has made him a fan favourite.
Bruno scored 18 goals and assisted a further 12 goals last season, with an xG of 0.52 per 90. His 2.73 key passes per 90 were one of the highest in Europe’s top five leagues, just like his 4.73 shot-creating actions per 90.
He already has his personal chant at the Theatre of Dreams and his shushing of Pep Guardiola during the Manchester Derby has already become an iconic moment in the new era of Manchester United.
With the arrival of Jadon Sancho and the prospective arrival of Raphael Varane soon, Manchester United are slowly looking like themselves again.
If Bruno has taught us anything, it is that much can change over the course of just one year and sometimes all that is needed to complete a puzzle or help a club in crisis, is a risky signing.
Will Manchester United win the league this season? I wish I could predict. But will they play like there is no tomorrow, with their hearts on their sleeves? Reminding their fans of the glory days? With Bruno on the pitch, all is possible.
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