Manchester United star Bruno Fernandes has heaped praise on Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard and Odion Ighalo for the impact they made towards the back end of last season.
The Red Devils went on an impressive 19-match unbeaten streak between the end of January and mid-July and winter arrival Fernandes was credited with single-handedly lifting the mood at Old Trafford in the latter half of the campaign.
The Portugal midfielder, who joined from Sporting for a fee of £68million, racked up eight goals and seven assists in an outstanding start to his Premier League career and will no doubt be looking to improve on those impressive numbers next term.
But during a chat with United’s official website, Fernandes was quick to point out that he was not alone in turning the club’s fortunes around last season.
‘We have players on the bench who can do very well,’ Fernandes said while looking back on his first few months in England.
‘If you see the last game, Juan came in and gave a lot of quality in our game, Jesse gave a lot of energy in the last games he was playing – and he scored twice in the last three games.
‘And we have Odion who can score, he can run, he’s a good sprinter.
‘I think Odion is the guy with the fourth most goals for United last season and he signed with me in January.
‘He doesn’t play every game but, when he does play, he scores so I think it’s important to have guys in front who can score.
‘You can serve them in different ways and they can score.’
Fernandes was satisfied with United’s third-place finish in the Premier League last season but insists fans can expect and ‘deserve’ more over the coming years.
‘The first game was not the best because we drew against Wolves,’ he responded when asked to rate his start at the club.
‘But of course, after we had that stop and went to Marbella together that week which was really important for me to get to know my team-mates better and to know the game the coach wants to do.
‘It was important to understand a little bit of everyone, to know how to serve some players, how to play with other players, the best way to play for the team and also to show my qualities for my team-mates.
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‘I think after that we did an amazing job because nobody believed we would finish third and get a place in the Champions League.
‘I think it was amazing. It was not the best because Manchester deserve more but, of course, we are happy with what we did and it’s a good part of what we can do for next season.’
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