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Three years of United’s Portuguese magnifico


Bruno Fernandes officially joined Manchester United three years ago yesterday and it safe to say he has been a success at Old Trafford.

When Fernandes joined, United were on their knees and they desperate for a player to add some much need injection and creativity into a team, that had lost 8 games in 28 Premier League matches, which is not the standards that United expect.

However, the Portuguese magnifico rejuvenated the club’s fortunes as he scored 8 goals and registered 7 assists in his 14 Premier League games [Transfermarkt] as he helped the club finish inside the Champions League places, and during those 14 matches, United did not suffer a single defeat in the league.

With United securing Champions League football that season, the onus was on for the club to keep progressing under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and the Portuguese enjoyed another fine campaign with the Old Trafford outfit as scored a remarkable 28 goals and he set up his team-mates 17 times during the 2020-21 season [Transfermarkt], in which United reached the Europa League final but lost to Spanish side Villarreal on penalties.

The 2021/22 season did not go to plan for Fernandes nor United as the club finished in a disappointing sixth position and they were out of all the cup competitions by March, which underlines just how bad last season was for United.

However, the start of the 2022/23 season saw United appoint Erik ten Hag as the club’s new manager and from the very first pre-season game against Liverpool, we could see that the new United number 8 would be important for United under the Dutchman’s guidance and so far that statement has proved to be correct because the Portugal international has now got four assists and four goals in his last eight appearances, even if it has taken him time because before the World Cup, his numbers were not great from a goal involvement perspective but his work-rate and energy did not go unnoticed during that period.

The photo below from Alex Turk was tweeted after the 3-0 win over Nottingham Forest, where the 28-year-old scored against Forest at the City Ground. Since his goal at Forest, the United vice-captain registered an assist for Fred during the 3-1 win over Reading in the FA Cup on Saturday evening.

If United do win the league with Fernandes in the team, then he deserves to be remembered as the one that helped United get back to their former glories. I would argue that if United win the league, then he should be spoken about in the same light as Eric Cantona because United went 26 years without winning a title before the Frenchman arrived, and currently, United have not won a Premier League title since 2013.

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