Bruno Fernandes has been in great form for Manchester United so far in the club’s pre-season.
This, however, has not always been the case.
Fernandes signed for a fee of around £47 million from Sporting Lisbon in January 2020, and made an instant impact on the side.
Starring in 23 appearances during the second half of the 2019/20 season, Fernandes racked up an incredible 12 goals and 8 assists and his transfer subsequently gained comparisons with that of Eric Cantona’s.
The next season, 2020/21, was just as brilliant.
In a total of 58 appearances, Bruno Fernandes scored 28 goals in a single campaign, which is the second highest total fans have seen in the last seven seasons behind Zlatan ibrahimovic’s 29-goal tally. He also provided 17 assists during this period.
2️⃣8️⃣ Goals.— Utd District (@UtdDistrict) May 14, 2021
Bruno Fernandes has broken Frank Lampard's record for the most goals scored by a Premier League midfielder in one season (all competitions).
There's a new King in town 👑 pic.twitter.com/uEc7etkpGU
However, the 2021/22 season drew a lot of negative attention Fernandes’ way. A season which saw many of the club’s players such as Harry Maguire and Marcus Rashford suffer horrible dips in form, Fernandes’ record-breaking statistics dropped to ‘only’ 10 goals and 13 assists in 45 appearances.
A consistent critique of the player’s style is that he often plays a high-risk form of football, and when his passes and shots do not come off, it often leaves fans frustrated.
When asked on whether Erik ten Hag’s possession-based brand of football would require him to adjust his game, Fernandes had a very simple reply
Fernandes was nonplussed when asked whether Ten Hag’s possession-based style meant he would have to adjust his game.
“What do you mean ‘tweak’?” he said.
“He wants me to do assists anyway, so I have to try it. I don’t understand that type of question of keeping the ball or whatever it is.
“I keep the ball when I think I have to keep it, I try a pass when I think I have to do it and sometimes it goes good, sometimes wrong.”
He himself is not wrong in this statement. Very often, some of the best players in the world are able to do what they do because they attempt things that other players do not – and sometimes it doesn’t work; that’s just how the game is played.
“When it goes wrong, I know that shouldn’t be the one, but sometimes when you play in the 10 position you have only a few seconds to think and control the ball and make the pass,” the playmaker explained.
Fernandes also took the opportunity to hit back at his critics.
“I understand that someone has his own opinion, but when I arrived in 2020 I was losing the same amount of balls in those six months and the year after I lost the same amount of balls, but I scored 28 goals, so people don’t complain.”
“Last season, because I scored only 10, people start complaining, but I’m OK with that. I do my best. I always try to help my teammates. Obviously I will have to do what the coach demands from me.”
Fernandes, despite some theorising that he could be dropped from the side by Ten Hag due to his erratic style, has displayed a brilliant adaptation to the new form of football soon to be debuted at Old Trafford.
Another player who is set to have his debut as a Manchester United player soon is Christian Eriksen.
The playmaker has arrived at the club on a free contract after leaving Brentford, and although he plays the same position as Fernandes, the Portuguese player cannot wait to meet, train and compete with the Dane.
“I always learn from players who play similar positions as me,” Fernandes stated. “Christian has been an amazing player in the past and last season when he played for Brentford.”
Eriksen will likely make his debut when Manchester United face Atletico Madrid in Oslo on 30 July as game five of the six-match pre-season tour.
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
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