football

Solskjaer on 'angry' Fernandes putting Man Utd teammates in their places


Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is happy for Bruno Fernandes to be Manchester United’s Mr Angry.

Fernandes, 26, has had an explosive impact since arriving at Old Trafford in a £47million deal from Sporting Lisbon in January.

As well as scoring 21 goals and providing 13 assists in his first 35 games for the club, the Portuguese midfielder has also shown a willingness to tear into any team-mate who has allowed their standards to slip.

Solskjaer believes Fernandes is leading by both example and encouragement – and has called on more United players to follow his lead.

Solskjaer said: “Bruno in not just giving out rollockings, he’s also instructing players.

“We can all learn from his mentality and mindset – that winning mentality.

“If it’s 2-0 he wants 3-0, if it’s 4-0 he wants 5-0. He always wants the team to improve.



Bruno Fernandes has been praised for raising standards

“In the heat of the moment, people are also allowed to air their frustration and be angry for a second or two.

“If it lingers on that’s a different scenario. But I’ve been in a team and I like my teams to have that inner justice, where it’s not just the managers and the coaches who shout.

“I want players to take responsibility and put other players into their places when it’s necessary.

“They’re out there fighting for one cause – and that’s for the team to win.

“The players have reacted really well to Bruno.

“We see different kinds of leadership. Some lead by example, some lead by both.

“And once in a while you just have to take a rollicking when you deserve one.”

Solskjaer himself played in United teams packed with leaders.

Players like Bryan Robson, Steve Bruce, Eric Cantona, Roy Keane and Wayne Rooney have worn the captain’s armband during the Premier League era.



Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has no issues with his star man’s attitude

But there have also been seasoned characters like Gary Pallister, Paul Scholes, David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo, Patrice Evra and Rio Ferdinand in the dressing room.

Ferdinand has claimed that Solskjaer’s side lacks natural leaders.

But while Harry Maguire has been installed as skipper, Fernandes has not been slow in demonstrating his forceful personality.

Solskjaer said: “Bruno has come in and said ‘I’m not afraid of anything here.’

“That’s how you should be. You shouldn’t be afraid of anything on a football pitch.

“When you’re on the pitch you should feel free and step up and be confident.

“We all need to step up and improve – especially in difficult times – and Bruno has done that.

“He has stepped up and taken penalties – like at Brighton in the 98th minute or at Leicester last season to qualify for the Champions League.



Bruno Fernandes has been a huge hit since joining almost a year ago

“Those are the pressure moments he likes.

“That is the sign of a Manchester United player – a player who can step up when it might go wrong.

“If you’re 4-0 up, 5-0 up and you’re ‘I want to show my flicks and style, I want to take a penalty then’ well that’s a different mindset.

“Bruno has had a fantastic influence and impact in that respect.”

United will be looking for their third successive Premier League win when they travel to Southampton on Sunday

And their manager also feels that Maguire has shown great resolve to put a troubled few months behind him.

Maguire was found guilty of aggravated assault, resisting arrest and bribery after being arrested on holiday on the Greek island of Syros in August.

And the £80million defender was then sent off playing for England against Denmark in the Nations League.

But Maguire’s return to form has been a big factor in United’s improvement in recent games.

Solskjaer said: “We’ve had conversations with Harry, of course, but he is his own harshest critic.

“He’s a leader and he’s never been afraid of fronting the team or standing up there when things have gone against him.

“When he came back after that international break and started off with that goal at Newcastle he’s probably never looked back since that moment and he’s getting better and better like the rest of the team.”





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