Bruno Fernandes believes his £55million transfer fee instantly gave him the confidence boost that has subsequently led to a swift adaptation to life at Manchester United.
Fernandes joined United from Sporting CP in January after a somewhat drawn-out saga and the Portugal midfielder has had an impressive impact.
In 21 appearances across all competitions, Fernandes has scored 11 goals and set up another eight, quickly establishing himself as one of the key components in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team.
On top of that, United have lost just once since his debut at the start of February, the 3-1 FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea last month.
Solskjaer’s men secured a third-place finish in the Premier League and face Sevilla for a spot in the Europa League final on Sunday and while Fernandes recognises he has had lots of support, he also feels the fee United paid gave him a boost.
“I can’t say it was easy, but of course we had good results and I was scoring some goals, but for me it was easy [to adapt] because the team helped me a lot, everyone in the club helped me – the coach, staff, everyone, that gives a lot of confidence,” he told reporters on Saturday.
“I already played in Italy, so I know how it is to be out of my country in different leagues. Of course, the Premier League is completely different, but I have the confidence of staff, team-mates, all the club, and I think everything is going well because when you have confidence from everyone you can do your game and your best.
There’s only one thing on @B_Fernandes8‘s mind…
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 15, 2020
“I think when a club pays for a player £55million, you have confidence from the club.
“Of course, then there are all the conversations with the manager, team-mates, and as I say before, the coach always says to do my game, try do what I did in Sporting, have the same confidence, do the same things and improve.
“When you have that voice, it’s easier for you.”
Sunday’s opponents Sevilla, who have won the Europa League three times and twice triumphed in its previous guise of the UEFA Cup, finished fourth in LaLiga and progressed past Roma and Wolves in the past two rounds to reach the last four.
Those victories extended their unbeaten run on all fronts to 19 matches, a streak that began in February, and Solskjaer warned his players they will need to be clinical in the final third and not be intimidated by their opponents’ aggressive pressing.
When asked what United need to do on Sunday, Solskjaer quipped: “Score more goals [than Sevilla].
“No, it’s not as easy as that, because they’re a good, very well-organised team, [use] aggressive pressing and have some very good individuals there, so we have to play our best game.
“We have to be able to keep the ball well when we can, play out of their press, be clever, creative and, of course, we have to step up in big moments – the last pass, the finish.
“These games will be decided so often on a set-piece or piece of individual brilliance by some players.”
Sevilla have been boosted by the return to their squad of Nemanja Gudelj after he overcame coronavirus, and Fernandes is already planning to swap shirts with his old Sporting colleague.
“I’m happy he’s healthy now,” Fernandes said. “I spoke with him when he had the virus. I’m happy he can be healthy now, but tomorrow I hope I can beat him. We will change the shirts tomorrow – I’m happy for him.”
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