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How Bruno Fernandes is keeping Manchester United’s European dream alive

When Bruno Fernandes signed for Manchester United towards the end of the January transfer window, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men had been defeated in three of their last four Premier League matches, losing all three without returning a goal themselves.

But Fernandes’ arrival at Manchester United has coincided with a drastic turnaround in form for the Reds Devils in both the league and in European football. On top of this, the Portuguese already has three goals and two assists to his name since arriving in Manchester.

Solskjaer wasted no time in deploying his new signing and long-term target, with Fernandes playing just two days after joining the club and featuring in every United match since. With managers often reluctant to launch new players into the full match day routine, Solskjaer has provided a breath of fresh air to United fans, who were able to view new talent almost from day one.

From what we have seen so far, Bruno Fernandes has a real talent for creativity and flair in the final third, often drifting to either flank to find space for himself, or to allow others to exploit space left behind in his wake. On top of this, he is not afraid to take on a shot from a long way out when the opportunity presents itself and he has shown promising skill in this area also.

His presence, coupled with Manchester United’s recent flurry of good results, has spurred many of the other team members into action, with seven separate goalscorers pitching in throughout their recent victories over Watford and Club Brugge.

On top of this, Fernandes added his most recent goal to the record with his equaliser against Everton. The game finished 1-1 and the Portuguese ace showed how pivotal he has been to United’s performances once more.

This period of fulfilling performances is all well and good, but can they keep up the good work for the remainder of the season? United have experienced short spells of shining form on a few occasions this season, but the excitement has not often lasted for too long.

Looking at his previous work at Portuguese outfit Sporting Lisbon, it starts to look like Manchester United have grabbed themselves a bargain in the form of Bruno Fernandes. Eight goals and seven assists in the Portuguese Primeira Liga tell their own story, but Fernandes has more notably created more big chances (11) and played more key passes (63) than anyone else in the league, despite departing Portugal a month ago.

The key for Solskjaer and the rest of the coaching staff is to continuously keep Fernandes playing in a creative role, while maintaining fluidity with the others in the squad.

United find themselves in a very promising position for perhaps the first time in the season, and with the majority of their remaining difficult games being played before the end of March, the Red Devils could be the favourites to clinch fifth place and potentially bring Champions League football back to Old Trafford.

Harry Mahon

90maat's team correspondent for Tottenham Hotspur, graduate of Loughborough University and current student at the University of Surrey.

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Premier League Table

# Team MP W D L P
1 Arsenal 0 0 0 0 0
2 Aston Villa 0 0 0 0 0
3 Brighton & Hov… 0 0 0 0 0
4 Burnley 0 0 0 0 0
5 Chelsea 0 0 0 0 0
6 Crystal Palace 0 0 0 0 0
7 Everton 0 0 0 0 0
8 Fulham 0 0 0 0 0
9 Leeds United 0 0 0 0 0
10 Leicester City 0 0 0 0 0
11 Liverpool 0 0 0 0 0
12 Manchester City 0 0 0 0 0
13 Manchester United 0 0 0 0 0
14 Newcastle United 0 0 0 0 0
15 Sheffield United 0 0 0 0 0
16 Southampton 0 0 0 0 0
17 Tottenham Hotspur 0 0 0 0 0
18 West Bromwich Albion 0 0 0 0 0
19 West Ham United 0 0 0 0 0
20 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 0 0 0 0

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