Manchester United were on an 11-game unbeaten run before the season was postponed and former academy player Craig Cathcart believes January signing Bruno Fernandes has been central to their turnaround in form.
A long-term target of the Red Devils, the Portuguese maestro was signed for £47 million from Sporting Lisbon in the last transfer window and has made an instant impact in the Premier League.
Cathcart impressed by Fernandes impact
The 25-year-old has netted twice and laid on three assists in the league already while impressing with his flashes of skill and mesmeric runs and Cathcart believes he has improved Manchester United’s overall performances.
Cathcart said: “The thing that impressed me most was that he always looks forward. He always gets the ball and his first thought is to pass forward and create chances, which maybe they were missing before.
“He’s brought that bit of quality and cutting edge to the final third and since he’s come in their performances have been much better, from what I’ve seen.”
Portuguese maestro has golden touch
United are yet to lose a game with Fernandes in the side, winning 75 per cent of their matches when he has played compared to a win rate of only 46 in the 18 games without him this campaign.
His dazzling displays earned him Premier League Player of the Month award for February with his forward-thinking approach enhancing United’s attacking edge while simultaneously enabling the midfielders behind him to focus on defensive duties.
Fernandes has excelled across the continent
What arguably stands him out from the archetypal playmaker is that he blends substance with style. Fernandes is not averse to getting stuck into challenges and is a vocal leader on the pitch. He has now cultivated experience of three of Europe’s top leagues, plying his trade at Novara, Udinese and Sampdoria in Italy before moving to Lisbon in 2017.
With the likes of big-name signings Angel Di Maria and Alexis Sanchez flopping at Old Trafford in recent years, it has come as a surprise to many that Fernandes has hit the ground running.
But a glance at his Sporting statistics show he is merely picking up from where he left off in Portugal. In the last two terms in his home nation, Fernandes twice scooped the Player of Season accolade, scoring 39 goals, laying on 28 assists and creating 239 chances.
Fernandes has made a fast start but the best may well be yet to come from this Red Devils revelation.