Bruno Fernandes has made a huge impact in just 18 months as a Manchester United player, not only bringing his own quality to the squad but improving those around him.
The latter is the mark of a truly top class player and leader and is one of the things that has helped draw early comparisons between the Portuguese and Old Trafford legend Eric Cantona.
It has been clear for a long time that Fernandes is hugely competitive, a mentality that has started to rub off his United colleagues. He looks visibly frustrated on the pitch when things don’t go his way and he is determined to play every minute of every game.
The 26-year-old, who contributed 28 goals and 17 assists in 58 appearances across all competitions during the 2020/21 season, has revealed that his zealous competitiveness is a family trait he picked up during childhood and any games at home could easily descend into fights.
“That comes from my childhood. For me, the desire to win the games and to win something is always on me and I think it’s part of me,” Fernandes explained in United fan Q&A.
“I don’t know where this comes from but, in my family, nobody likes to lose. I think I grew up seeing my cousins, my brother, my uncles, my dad fighting to win.
“When we played cards or chess or football, when we played everything. I think my mentality comes a little bit from my family. There were a lot of fights over Christmas, when we have to play card games or bingo or something different. The fighting is always on!”
That mentality has translated into his professional football career. Technical ability is different, but Fernandes demands hard work as a minimum from himself and expects the same from others.
“Always in my mind, you can have the same as me but you can’t have more than me. For example, desire, a winning mentality and hard work, I think you have to have in your mind to be the best you can,” the former Sporting CP star said.
“On quality, you can have people have more quality than you because everyone is different. Everyone has different qualities but, on the mentality, you have to put your level high.”