Ole Gunnar Solskjaer claimed Bruno Fernandes had energised “the whole club” but insists Manchestre United still need new players after their derby victory over Manchester City.
United boss Solskjaer also hailed the character of the January signing after he had the last laugh in a heated exchange with City manager Pep Guardiola late in United’s 2-0 success at Old Trafford.
Portugal midfielder Fernandes, who set up the opening goal for Anthony Martial, put his fingers to his lips after arguing with Guardiola moments before Scott McTominay sealed victory in injury time.
Solskjaer was quick to praise the way Fernandes had already developed a tremendous understanding with Martial as they combined for the opener and, when asked more specifically how the £68m Portuguese star had lifted the team, the Norwegian continued: “(It’s) the whole club, because he has everything. He works hard and he is humble enough.
“He has the desire and commitment but he has also got the X-factor, he is a risk-taker. He has the courage, he is brave enough to make mistakes and if you make enough mistakes it’ll be corrected into fantastic assists or goals.”
Asked specifically about the incident involving Guardiola, Solskjaer said: “You need character at this club but this team they have got that. They have learned through some hard times this season. We have started something we believe in and Bruno has helped that.”
Fernandes‘ arrival does seem to have kick-started United’s campaign with the team unbeaten in eight games in all competitions since his debut.
Their latest victory lifted them back to fifth in the Premier League, three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea.
The win also completed United’s first league double over City for 10 years and Solskjaer – over the weekend urged to go out and buy these three stars to turn the club into title contenders – used the opportunity to ask the board to further strenghten their squad with up to three exciting signings over the summer.
Solskjaer said: “We feel we are improving all the time. We know we lack one or two, three players, and some experience, to be considered a title contender.
“But we are not going to start talking about that now. We are just going to start talking about going up the table, getting more points, to that top four.
“Chelsea and Leicester are still too far ahead for my liking still.
“For me it shows we are on the right track and we’re improving and we are Man Utd. We are looking towards catching the teams in front of us.
“But this is one game. Now it is on to Thursday and Sunday, two big games for us.”
United‘s next game sees them face Austrian side LASK in the first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie on Thursday.