Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes has described himself as a ‘risk player’, explaining that he is willing to gamble with the ball, potentially losing it, if it means creating chances so that the likes of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood ahead of him can score.
With former managers Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho preferring a more disciplined approach, Fernandes has restored what might be considered ‘the United way’ under boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and it has enormously paid off in terms of the team’s performances and results.
It was reported last summer that United initially opted against signing Fernandes because scouts believed him to given the ball away too often and his pass completion accuracy not deemed to be high enough. Ironically, that risk-taking trait is what has made him such a hit.
The Portugal international has contributed 13 goals and assists in 10 Premier League appearances since joining the club in January and is one of only a handful of individuals to have won Premier League Player of the Month in consecutive months.
Fernandes has generally lifted the whole squad, and United also became the first team in Premier League history to win four consecutive games by three or more goals when Aston Villa were put to the sword in a comfortable 3-0 victory last week.
“We have such good qualities on the team, so for the position I play, having players in front who can score, who can get a lot of goals, is easier for me,” the former Sporting CP captain told Sky Sports.
“I’m a risk player, I take risks. I want to take risks every time and I will take the risk every time. I will lose a lot of balls, I will misplace a lot of passes but I know when I find my strikers, my wingers, they will score,” he added.
His whirlwind impact has given United a real chance of finishing the season as high as third in the Premier League ahead of Leicester and Chelsea, which seemed unthinkable as recently as January, and securing Champions League football for only the third time since Sir Alex Ferguson retired.
Paul Pogba, who is increasingly expected to commit his future to United as a result of the sharp recent upturn, believes there is now a ‘proper team’ with the right balance.
“You can call it a proper team,” he told United Review. “Sometimes before, we were maybe too defensive or too offensive and we didn’t have this balance or this control. Now you can see we have that balance and there is more structure – we’ve been working hard on that.”