A former member of the Red Devils academy has opened up on his experience of playing towards the Portuguese playmaker in the Premier League.
Manchester United’s performances have been “much better” since Bruno Fernandes’ arrival at Old Trafford, in accordance to Craig Cathcart, who says Watford were “very impressed” when they came up against the midfielder.
United snapped Fernandes up from Sporting in a €55 million (£49m/$60m) deal on January 30 with a five-and-a-half-year contract.
The 25-year-old has tailored to the tempo and depth of Premier League football like a duck to water, scoring three goals and imparting 4 assists in his first 9 outings for the Red Devils.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men appear to have raised their collective standards with the Portugal international leading through example in the center of the park, embarking on an 11-match unbeaten run which has reignited their hopes of a top-four finish and ending a two-year trophy drought.
Fernandes’ best overall performance to date arguably came in the course of a 3-0 home victory over Watford on February 23, where he netted his first goal for the club from the penalty spot.
Cathcart has now revealed how challenging the Hornets found dealing with the ex-Sporting superstar that day, whilst expressing his trust that the playmaker has added a “cutting edge” to United’s line up.
“I think we were all very impressed,” the 31-year-old defender told MEN.
“The thing that impressed me most was that he constantly looks forward. He usually gets the ball and his first idea is to skip forward and create chances, which possibly they were lacking before.
“He’s delivered that bit of fantastic and cutting edge to the closing third and since he’s come in their performances have been a whole lot better, from what I’ve seen.”
Cathcart, who rose through United’s academy ranks as a youngster, went on to assess Solskjaer’s first full 12 months in charge at Old Trafford, praising the Norwegian for how he has effectively blended youth with experience.
“Obviously since Sir Alex left, it is been challenging for United, so I think this is a new way of looking at things,” he added.
“I can see this now being good for them, you can see young players now coming into the team and doing certainly well, so there is no reason why they cannot progress and improve.
“They’ve obviously signed a few players as well, they’ve signed Fernandes who everyone’s raving about. He looks a quality player and it really is the mix you need, a good mix of skilled players and youth as well. I think things are looking up.”