Bruno Fernandes declared that he will help Manchester United realise their dreams of a Champions League homecoming after scoring his first goal for the club in their Premier League win over Watford this weekend.
The Portuguese opened his account for the Red Devils after he converted an early penalty in the 3-0 victory, taking them back to fifth in the table with under a dozen games to go.
United’s position would currently assure them of a second consecutive campaign in the Europa League, but they could yet secure an overdue return to the continent’s top club competition, trailing fourth-place Chelsea by only three points.
Fernandes, who arrived at Old Trafford from Sporting CP last month following weeks of intense speculation, has proven an astute recruit for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, hopes that it will be in the Champions League that United find themselves next year, after back-to-back seasons in the Europa League himself.
The 25-year-old reaffirmed his desire to help drive the club back to the high table, telling the BBC after his performance against the Hornets: “This is what I want to do and what I need to do. “Everyone knows we want to get into the Champions League places. I am here to help the team conquer this place and keep winning games.”
“This is the day every player wants to have. I feel lucky to score, I feel lucky to win the game. We all gave our best and we all deserved the win. I just need to help the team, it’s what I want to do, it’s what I need to do. I hope Martial scores more goals too like he did tonight.”
Fernandes became the first United player in Premier League history to score a penalty as his first goal for the club in the top-flight, while building upon his own sterling spot-kick streak.
Bruno Fernandes has scored each of the last 13 penalties he has taken in top-flight football (12/12 with Sporting CP and 1/1 with Man Utd) since missing for Udinese in April 2016. Nonchalant.
On his eye-catching effort, he added: “It’s the way I shoot a penalty, it’s where I feel confident. I do not shoot just that way but it felt the best way today.”
Goals for Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood helped Solskjaer’s side make it consecutive league wins for the first time since December as they close the gap on the top four, edging ahead of Tottenham, Sheffield United and Wolves in the race for Europe. Fifth may yet prove to be enough for the Champions League too, as rivals Manchester City await a decision on whether their ban from continental competition will be upheld ahead of the 2020-21 term.