Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has praised Bruno Fernandes’ “outstanding” form for Manchester United and revealed he tried to sign him when he was boss at Paris St-Germain.
Tuchel says he was originally made aware of Fernandes by ex-PSG sporting director Antero Henrique.
“We tried to make it happen,” said Tuchel, who was at PSG from 2018-20.
“It was when we just arrived. My first sporting director in Paris knew [Fernandes] very well. We watched more and more games about him. We fought hard to have a connection to him and to bring him to our team.
“We tried and he went another way. It is bad for us that we have to play against him [on Sunday].”
Tuchel is impressed with the impact Fernandes has had since joining United from Sporting Lisbon in January last year, describing the 26-year-old as “one of the best midfielders in the world”.
“He was a big personality for Sporting and an effective goalscorer and an effective guy to make the other players around more dangerous,” said the former Borussia Dortmund boss.
“To come from Portugal, from a competitive team – a big club but not from the strongest league – and step to one of the biggest clubs in the Premier League and the strongest league in Europe, and to have this kind of impact, I have nothing but the biggest respect for this guy.
“He has [had] a huge, huge impact and to have this as a single person in football, you must be absolutely top level because this is almost impossible. The impact he has had is indescribable and unbelievable.”
Chelsea will replace West Ham in fourth with victory over United and put them three behind Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, who are second in the Premier League table.
“I feel that he has a lot of support from his club, which is nice to see because the best thing you can feel as a manager is the trust and belief from a club even in the difficult moments,” Tuchel said on his opposite number.
“I assume that he works for that and creates this on a daily basis, and so he earns it.”