Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: Bruno Fernandes 'Top Class' Like Paul Scholes at United

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 23, 2020

BRUGGE, BELGIUM - FEBRUARY 20: Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United during the UEFA Europa League   match between Club Brugge v Manchester United at the Jan Breydel Stadium on February 20, 2020 in Brugge Belgium (Photo by Erwin Spek/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has likened Bruno Fernandes to club legend Paul Scholes.

Fernandes arrived from Sporting CP in January for an initial £47 million fee, and Solskjaer has been impressed with what he's seen during the 25-year-old's first month at Old Trafford, per Goal's Robin Bairner:

"He reminds me of Scholesy as a player but definitely a different type of personality off the pitch.

"Against Club Brugge, when he's on the bench, he walks around, he speaks to the players who start, he helps them, he gives them points.

"And the 10 minutes he played you could see that there's a difference in our team.

"He's another conductor and leader and winner. He wants to win. He doesn't take 99 per cent as good enough and he's impressed me.

"That's something you see when you watch him but you don't know about until you have him in your group. He's been top class."

Because of the Premier League's winter break earlier in February, he has only made three appearances for the Red Devils. United were held to an uninspiring 0-0 draw at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers in his debut, but the playmaker showed flashes of his quality, particularly before he was moved to a deeper role in the second half.

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On Monday, he helped his side record a 2-0 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, and he was among their top performers.

He provided his first assist for the club with a corner for Harry Maguire to head home:

On Thursday, he made a late cameo off the bench as United drew 1-1 with Club Brugge in the first leg of their UEFA Europa League last-32 tie.

Although he wasn't able to engineer a winner on the night, he had a significant impact on the team's play, as football statistician Dave O'Brien observed:

Bleacher Report's Rob Blanchette felt Solskjaer made a mistake in not utilising Fernandes more in the game:

By March 21 United will have played at least another seven matches, including fixtures against Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur. As such, Solskjaer's decision to use him sparingly is understandable.

Prior to joining United, Fernandes had returned 15 goals and 14 assists for Sporting in 28 games this season.

With chief creator Paul Pogba and biggest goal threat Marcus Rashford injured, the Red Devils will be relying on him to have a similar impact for them in the second half of the season.

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