Bruno Fernandes being named the Premier League’s player of the month for February was recognition of the fine start he has made to his career at Manchester United, who have since truly returned to contention to qualify for the Champions League. In the absence of Paul Pogba, United had lacked creativity in midfield but since Fernandes’ arrival – he signed a five-and-a-half-year contract to follow Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani and Marcos Rojo from Sporting Lisbon – he is yet to experience defeat in his nine appearances.
United have won seven of those fixtures. Fernandes also scored three goals, and registered four assists, during them. In the Premier League alone he has scored twice and registered three assists, justifying him being named player of the month. Where Pogba was once considered essential to United’s ambitions, Fernandes’ influence means he increasingly appears expendable. There has also been further improvement in fellow midfielders Scott McTominay and Fred, and a revival in Nemanja Matic’s form that has contributed to him being awarded a new, two-year contract.
Beyond United’s improving defence there is therefore perhaps a further reason for them to continue to back Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s methods. Since his appointment, on a permanent basis, as United’s manager, their major signings – Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Daniel James, Harry Maguire and Fernandes – have all excelled.