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Bruno Fernandes has been nothing short of a revelation at Manchester United.
The Portugal midfielder has scored 11 goals and made eight assists in 21 games for the Red Devils, helping the club to Champions League qualification and into the semi-finals of the Europa League.
The 25-year-old has proved to be just what Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needed to turn the fortunes of his team upwards, and the player has now opened up on the advice he was given.
Fernandes has mentioned that his new boss was very clear about what he wanted his new player to do, before praising his team-mates for their warm welcome.
“The manager was very clear [when I arrived at Old Trafford],” he told UEFA.com.
“He told me to not be afraid, to just be myself, that he knew full well why he had sought me out, and what I was capable of doing; to continue to take risks in a match and to maintain the same mentality that I had at Sporting; to keep giving instructions on the pitch.”
Having previously played away from his native Portugal, Fernandes believes he was more prepared for playing in England.
He added: “It helped a lot to have already played abroad, in Italy. I left Portugal at a young age.
“I had to make my mark in football by myself – against everything and everyone, as we say.
[Playing for Novara, Udinese and Sampdoria in Itlay] helped in the fact that today I’m a more grown up, more mature person, which makes settling in easier.
“Everybody at Manchester United has been amazing. I was lucky to play in [only one] league game, then we had the February break – a small break in Marbella where I got more sense of what the club’s ideas were, the coach’s ideas.
“I got to know my team-mates better. I had seen them playing, but I became better aware of their qualities and found out what I could do to improve the team.”
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United take on Sevilla in their Europa League semi-final on Sunday, a game in which Fernandes is keen to get out of the blocks quickly.
He said: “The most important thing is having the right mindset and a strong mentality.
“We need to understand that every game is a knockout match – if we don't win, we're out.
“[Against Copenhagen] we started a bit nervously, because we knew that we had to start really strong, since this match was about winning or being knocked out.”
Before adding: “We know that the start of the match is going to be very important because the first minutes are crucial.”
- Manchester United FC
- Bruno Fernandes
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
- Europa League
- Champions League
- Premier League
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