Bruno Fernandes has been Manchester United’s talisman ever since he touched down on English soil in January of last year – and the Portuguese midfielder is now aiming to spearhead his side to Europa League glory.
The former Sporting midfielder bagged a brace against Roma in the first leg of the Europa League semi-final, as a rampant second half display put the Red Devils firmly in the driving seat ahead of their trip to Rome, though the game marked a significant milestone for Fernandes.
The first-leg of the tie marked Bruno Fernandes’ 50th game of the season, a remarkable feat considering how congested the fixture list has been this season with the impact COVID-19 had on the scheduling.
While many players struggle to hit just over half of that total without sustaining injury, Bruno has enjoyed a clean bill of health for the majority of the campaign.
Speaking to the media ahead of the second-leg against Roma, Fernandes said: “I hope to play more than 50 [games] next season again. When you play for a club like this your standards have to be high.”
Though many fans may jump for joy at a key player displaying such enthusiasm, it could prove to be detrimental for United to be so reliant on Bruno as they aim to launch a serious title tilt next season.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may opt for a protective approach towards his star man next season, not risking him in games that aren’t as vital.
Bruno made three appearances in the League Cup this campaign, a tournament that traditionally see’s the big six’s top talent given a rest.
With that being said, Solskjaer has praised the work of his fitness staff, and claimed that facing huge number of fixtures is just part of being a United player.
The United boss explained: “We’ve got a great fitness staff. It’s been a process since we came in. We brought in some young staff when I came.
“We brought in some robustness. A winning Man United team has players that can play 40, 50 games per season at a high standard.
“That is lifestyle, it’s training. It’s about when you’re not playing, to get complete match fitness.”
Solskjaer has already explained how his United side will not allow complacency to creep in against Roma, despite their four goal advantage.
The Norwegian said: “We’re not going to play on the result, we’re going to play to win that game.
“That’s the only way I think we can play this game. Of course there might be one or two changes in the selection, but we have to get into the final.
“Everyone says it’s done but I’ve seen bigger upsets than this. Roma beat Barcelona in a second leg after being 4-1 down.”