Fernandes has lifted mood at Man Utd, says Solskjaer

LONDON (AFP) – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said Bruno Fernandes has lifted the mood at Old Trafford, comparing the January signing to a mix between former Manchester United players Paul Scholes and Juan Sebastian Veron.

Fernandes arrived for an initial EUR55 million and, while that could rise to EUR80 million if a variety of targets are reached, United look to have struck a good deal.

The Portugal international has impressed in all three United starts to date, following up fine displays against Wolves and Chelsea with a goal and an assist against Watford.

Successive wins have lifted United into fifth place in the Premier League table as they push for Champions League qualification.

“He’s given everyone a boost,” Solskjaer said of the 25-year-old Fernandes. “It means more than just getting a player in. You can see the supporters, they’re used to players with that personality, mentality and quality so he’s been a big plus.

“He’s come in from day one, the first minute, and felt like a presence in the group. First training session, demanding the ball.

“Some players take some time in warming up but he felt confident straight away.

“He’s a bit of a mix between (Paul) Scholes and (Juan Sebastian) Veron, to be fair. He’s got the temperament maybe of Veron and a lot of the quality of him and Scholesy.”

Solskjaer said Fernandes was a “big piece” in the team that United are looking to build, while Anthony Martial has shown that he too can be a key component of the attack.

“I am delighted with the week Anthony’s had,” Solskjaer said. “He has got his critics and I am one of his biggest probably because I keep demanding different stuff from him.

“This today is more than the Anthony we know about,” he added. “The skill because that is just mind-blowing, sometimes the skill that he shows. But I want more from him and I’ll keep at him.”

Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes challenges for the ball against Watford’s Will Hughes during their English Premier League match at Old Trafford in Manchester, England. PHOTO: AP