Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is not surprised by the impact of Bruno Fernandes and says that the Portuguese already has an aura for Manchester United.
Fernandes, 25, scored three points and won two assists in six appearances, as his move up to £ 68 million from Sporting Lisbon and United is undefeated by Fernandes in his team.
United had no interest in signing Fernandes in the summer and expressed “irritation” in reports planted in Portugal claiming to be in talks. United spent three weeks negotiating with Sporting last month before they reached a turning point and Solskjaer was confident that Fernandes would quickly resolve.
“I’m not surprised,” said Solskjaer. “Because I have seen what he can do on the field and I have seen his leadership skills. If you do the due diligence and talk to people who know his personality, you hope he has this influence.
“I’m not surprised, but you can’t be 100% sure. Some players take six months, but the point was to get him involved because of the quality he has. He simply appreciated it.
“He loves being around, he has just arrived with that aura about him that you need in the players.”
Liverpool are 22 points ahead of the Premier League but cannot emulate the United States’ triumph in 1999 after losing to the FA Cup fifth round at Chelsea. Liverpool are also down 1-0 at Atletico Madrid ahead of the return leg of the 16th Champions League match at Anfield next week.
Manchester City have claimed a triple national in the last term, but were expelled from the Champions League in the quarterfinals by Tottenham and although Barcelona, Inter and Bayern Munich have won the highest triple in their respective countries, United remains the the only English team to have won the league, the English Cup and the European Cup in one season.
Solskjaer scored the winner inexcusably in the ’99 Champions League final as a substitute, but started the English Cup final four days earlier. “For me it was a fantastic final to play in ’99, and it has always been the last game of the season; it has always been a show. You can never underestimate the FA Cup and how much it means for the fans, the players, the fans and the club.
“And for us, obviously, it was a big step [towards the Treble], especially the semifinal against Arsenal, that was perhaps the turning point. The highs have been a fantastic result. We hope to do it again, but it is a difficult and, more or less, impossible task.
“There are so many good teams around, it has changed nationally. There are better teams around us now. Either it was us or Arsenal in ’99 and now there are many more.”