Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has revealed how Bruno Fernandes was recommended to him by Cristiano Ronaldo and explained the midfielder’s hugely impressive impact on Manchester United.
Fernandes has been a transformative addition to the side with eight goals and seven assists since his £67million move from Sporting Lisbon.
United are flying high in their pursuit of Champions League qualification and Fernandes is at the heart of their recent success. Solskjaer has now spoken at length about the exhaustive process in scouting the Portuguese star, which involved a chat over the phone with Ronaldo.
Bruno Fernandes (left) immediately impressed Ole Gunnar Solskajer on and off the pitch
Cristiano Ronaldo (right), recommended his Portugal team-mate to Solskjaer over the phone
He told the High Performance podcast: ‘So obviously Cristiano was an easy goal for me that I managed to get through.
‘Through Patrice Evra, I managed to get hold of Cristiano and his recommendation obviously stood him (Fernandes) in good stead.’
And from the first day Fernandes arrived at Carrington to train with his new team-mates, it was clear he was a leader.
Solskjaer went on to say how impressed he was by the humility and manner in which he conducted himself.
The manager added: ‘It was off the field as well in training. And he demands off me. He demands off his team-mates. The first day he was in the club, he shook everyone’s hand. He doesn’t, he didn’t come in here thinking, “I’m the, I’m the big shot. I’m… you follow me”. No, he shook absolutely every staff members’ hand.
‘And, of course, this is a family – Man United – we’ve always been a family, and Sir Alex, the way he’s created this atmosphere in this dressing, in this training ground, I think it’s unique.’
Crucially, Fernandes had the ability to earn respect quickly too.
‘He’s got the talent of course,’ Solskjer continued. ‘That’s, you can see the quality is there. And we’ve seen that for a long time, but then again, he steps up when it matters.
Fernandes has been superb for United since joining from Sporting Lisbon for £67million
‘And he does it when it matters. He’s delivered crosses, he’s delivered assists, he’s scored goals, he’s took penalties. He’s done everything in a short space of time that you’d expect…’
Solskjaer went on to shed some light on the level of detail United will go into before pulling the trigger on a signing.
‘In Norway it was easier for me. I knew more of them, most of them when I signed. And I knew the, maybe the agent, and I managed to, to maybe meet the parents or the boys, on the, on the sly. You’re not allowed to, but sometimes you just meet. Then you, you speak.
‘And I think for English internationals, for example, you speak to Marcus. What do you think of such and such team-mate of yours? Do you think he’ll fit?
‘Harry Maguire, for example, you follow him, you’ve watched his Instagram account, you watch Twitter, you watch what kind of personalities they are.
Solskjaer and United explained the detail the club goes into before signing a player
He added: ‘You go back to the scout that scouted him when it was 15, 16. Of course they’d spoken to them, and we just know more or less everything we need to know about the personality.
‘You can’t do that all the time. Sometimes you have to have, take the hunch. You watch him and you say, well, rainy day at Stoke, he steps up, he’s a winner.
‘Or he picked up the ball and gave it to the player, or he’s respectful when he, off the pitch he shakes everyone’s hand or… Those little things. You’re looking at human qualities as well.’
It seems United were spot on in their assessment of Fernandes, who scored from the spot in their 3-0 win over Aston Villa last Thursday.
He is expected to line up against Southampton on Monday night and victory would extend the unbeaten streak to 18 matches.
Fernandes scored a penalty against Aston Villa, his eighth goal for the club so far