The Norwegian boss has heaped praise upon a January arrival who has settled into his new surroundings at Old Trafford quicker than expected
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has expressed his belief that Bruno Fernandes gives Manchester United a “bit of a different flavour” in the middle of the park, highlighting his “composure” and “imagination” on the ball.
Fernandes has made a huge impression at Old Trafford since completing a €55 million (£46m/$60m) move from Sporting in January, scoring one goal and providing two assists in his first four appearances.
The Portuguese playmaker has negotiated the transition from Primeira Liga football to the Premier League seamlessly, and taken it upon himself to drive the team forward during recent wins over Chelsea and Watford.
The 25-year-old scored a penalty during United’s 3-0 win over the Hornets at Old Trafford on Sunday after being fouled by goalkeeper Ben Foster, and also set up Mason Greenwood to score his 11th goal of the season.
Fernandes was involved in all of the Red Devils’ best moments, and will be back in contention for a place in Solskjaer’s line up when Club Brugge arrive in Manchester on Thursday.
Ahead of the Europa League round of 32 second-leg encounter, the United boss has hailed Fernandes for adding an “x-factor” to his ranks, while also singling out Anthony Martial, Nemanja Matic and Fred for their recent performances.
“We feel we’ve added some x-factor quality with Bruno,” Solskjaer told a press conference. “Anthony coming back, he was out for a couple of months, means he’s getting used to the no.9 position.
“Scott [McTominay] has developed but Nemanja and Fred have done well. The addition of Bruno gives us a bit of a different flavour. He likes to play forward passes and take risks, which a Man Utd player should do.”
The 47-year-old boss went on to discuss Fernandes’ awareness and confidence in possession, before insisting he will continue to improve with each passing game as he adjusts to a new league.
“His imagination and his overview, picture, is a couple of seconds ahead of many players,” Solskjaer said.
“It’s one of his strengths – he knows what he wants to do. He can change his mind in a split-second. That composure has been important.
“I think Bruno will only improve by coming here to a stronger league, stronger opponents and stronger team-mates, getting used to us.
“We want to develop that x-factor. He’s come in and impressed everyone but we don’t want to put a limit on what he can do.”
United secured a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their tie against Brugge, and will be favourites to progress with a win in front of their own fans before focus shifts to a Premier League meeting with Everton at Goodison Park on Sunday.