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Solskjaer hails ‘brilliant’ Fernandes’ impact on Man Utd

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has saluted “brilliant” Bruno Fernandes’ impact in his first year at Manchester United.

Saturday marks the first anniversary of the Portugal midfielder’s arrival from Sporting Lisbon.

Nobody has scored more for a Premier League club than Fernandes since his debut in January 2020.

He has bagged 28 goals in all competitions and provided 17 assists to transform United from underachievers into Premier League title contenders.

The 26-year-old saw off Liverpool with a superb free-kick in last weekend’s FA Cup fourth round clash and will turn his attention to keeping United in the title hunt when they face Arsenal on Saturday.

“Brilliant,” Solskjaer said of Fernandes’ impact.

“From day one he’s come in and wanted to affect the environment, the playing environment, the staff. He’s been a great addition.

“He’s such a humble human being, working hard and I think everyone has seen what he’s done on the pitch.

“Very pleased with his first year and long may it continue. The higher up in the league, the more pressure there will be on us and on him.

“Now the limelight is on him but I’m sure he’ll handle that pressure fine.

“He’s got his opinion, he’s a winner. He’s not just going to let a game pass away and talk about it after. He wants to affect it there and then.

“He’s so passionate about winning and he knows his football, he knows his stuff. He watches every single game there is on telly, especially the big games.

“And if you ask him ‘did you watch that last night?’ he’s always seen the game, so he’s going to make the most of his career, that’s for sure.”

Solskjaer has been impressed by the single-minded focus of Fernandes, whose transformative impact on United has been likened to that of French forward Eric Cantona in the 1990s.

“Bruno has come in and helped the team, no doubt about that,” the United boss said.

“He’s come in at a time when we needed his type of player and Bruno came into a team that makes his attributes and skills come to fruition.

“He’s come to a team that suits him and he suits the team, so that goes hand in hand.

“If the players don’t run, Bruno can’t play his passes. If Bruno doesn’t play his passes, the players can’t run.

“He’s part of a chain here and I’m sure that Bruno will say that he also appreciates his team-mates and that they help him through games.”