London (AFP) – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Bruno Fernandes has lifted the mood at Old Trafford, comparing the January signing to a mix between former Manchester United players Paul Scholes and Juan Sebastian Veron.
Fernandes arrived for an initial 55 million euros (£46 million) and, while that could rise to 80 million euros if a variety of targets are reached, United look to have struck a good deal.
The Portugal international has impressed in all three United starts to date, following up fine displays against Wolves and Chelsea with a goal and an assist against Watford.
Successive wins have lifted United into fifth place in the Premier League table as they push for Champions League qualification.
“He’s given everyone a boost,” Solskjaer said of the 25-year-old Fernandes. “It means more than just getting a player in. You can see the supporters, they’re used to players with that personality, mentality and quality so he’s been a big plus.
“He’s come in from day one, the first minute, and felt like a presence in the group. First training session, demanding the ball.
“Some players take some time in warming up but he felt confident straight away.
“He’s a bit of a mix between (Paul) Scholes and (Juan Sebastian) Veron, to be fair. He’s got the temperament maybe of Veron and a lot of the quality of him and Scholesy.”
Solskjaer said Fernandes was a “big piece” in the team that United are looking to build, while Anthony Martial has shown that he too can be a key component of the attack.
Monday’s header at Chelsea was followed by a fine goal at Club Brugge in the Europa League and a clever clipped finish past Ben Foster on Sunday.
“I am delighted with the week Anthony’s had,” Solskjaer said. “He has got his critics and I am one of his biggest probably because I keep demanding different stuff from him.”
“This today is more than the Anthony we know about,” he added. “The skill because that is just mind-blowing, sometimes the skill that he shows. But I want more from him and I’ll keep at him.”
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