Bruno Fernandes shrugs off claims he struggles against the Premier League’s ‘Big Six’ and says pundits are too hung up on stats but admits he has been below par recently on eve of the Manchester derby
Bruno Fernandes has hit back at critics claiming he goes missing in games against Manchester United’s major rivals, insisting his overall contribution shows his value to the side.
United take on local rivals Manchester City on Sunday, hoping they can narrow the gap on their rivals to 11 points and end their incredible 22-match winning run.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will turn towards Fernandes for inspiration in the Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium, but his goal contribution has been poor against the rest of the so-called big six this season, which includes City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal.
Bruno Fernandes has hit back at critics who suggest he struggles against ‘big six’ teams
Fernandes has only scored one non-penalty against ‘big six’ rivals across eight games this term, but when speaking about his goal scoring record claimed it did not matter where or when his goal contributions come.
‘I don’t know what people mean by ‘top six’, because the teams are in top six in the table,’ he told Sky Sports. ‘I score and assist against some of them. I score this season against Tottenham. But some people say penalties don’t count!
‘I know people expect Bruno to score or assist in every game because when I arrived, I was playing really well. If you see my stats, everyone is thinking that Bruno has to score in every game, Bruno has to assist in every game.
‘I want to do that – it’s the most important thing. But as a player, I don’t look for the big six or the rest of the league. I look for every game in the same way. And I think the league is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. So you don’t have to score or win against the big six – you have to score and win against everyone.
‘I see people talking about Bruno not doing so well against the ‘big six’. People have said Bruno gives the ball away too many times when we lose a game.
‘Also, in the game against Basaksehir, I scored two goals and I lost more balls than their team, but people said I was the best player in the game. So, what is the point?
‘But I agree the last two games, I didn’t play very well. And I don’t need to see the stats to see if I play well or not. I know when I play well or not.
Fernandes has also insisted that his goal contributions don’t necessary reflect on his actual performances during a match, claiming they can mask his overall effectiveness to the side.
Although the Portuguese midfielder does accept he will always be under pressure to perform and that he is always striving to improve.
‘I saw an interview from Luke (Shaw) saying, ‘people now care more about stats than the performance’. And this is the truth. Because now they’re expecting from me just goals and assists, and not performances.
‘They don’t care about the performance of Bruno, they don’t care about ball recovery or how many chances I create, because I can create 10 chances but if I don’t score, people will say Bruno didn’t play very well.
‘But this is football. Football is in the moment. Some people have said I’m playing bad, and that I have to do better. And I agree, because we always can do better. But for me, it’s OK. I can have that pressure on my back.
‘I’m sure in some moments, I will score, I will assist, and I will perform. And that will help my team-mates to win the game.’