Bruno Fernandes was at his imperious best once again in our Europa League semi-final, first leg as the Reds produced a stunning comeback to beat Roma 6-2 at Old Trafford.
Our Portuguese magnifco opened the scoring with a sublime finish on nine minutes, before netting a second-half penalty and laying on two exquisite assists for Edinson Cavani and Paul Pogba.
Fernandes spoke to club media after our memorable victory and his interview is a must-read below…
Firstly Bruno, what a night for you and the team…
“The performance of the team was top. The result is really good for us, could be better if we don’t concede goals but, anyway, we did a great job in the second half. As the coach said at half-time, we have four halves to play – we played the first one and we lost, the second one we win and at half-time in both games [the tie] we are through, but we have two halves to play again and the mindset has to be to win that game again.”
What did Ole say at half-time?
“The manager and the players, we also talk, as we said about keeping calm and doing the right things, play easy football, quick football, one and two touches and keep the head fresh and calm. Don’t go mad, don’t try to win the game in the first five or 10 minutes of the second half because we know we had a long way to arrive at the final. Like I said, before at half-time we knew we had three halves to play so the second of the four halves we ended very well. And we have to do the same in the two halves we have left to play.”
Bruno: It was a good night!Video
The big players tend to perform in big games like this. We saw yourself, Edinson and Paul – some of the link-up was fantastic and it must have been a delight to play in that game…
“For me, the big players perform all season and not only in the big games. It’s easy when we score against a big team as Roma is. The result today is what it is but Roma is still a big team but, for me, big players perform all season and all the players have performed all season. We are doing really, really well and we are growing up as a team and, for me, that’s the most important [thing]. As I said before, we enjoy to play like this. You talk about the really good players, but also you have to have the players that work hard. We work hard up front to recover the ball to help the team in defending stuff and that’s really important. The most thing for us is to keep the team playing well, keep the team fighting for everything and trying to win every game we have and everyone deserves credit. Me, Paul and Edi don’t do anything for ourselves, if we don’t have the team around us, we are nothing.”
That’s 26 goals for you for the season, from midfield. Did you expect that?
“I scored 32 at Sporting so I expect to pass that mark! My target every time is to do better and better and my target now, as everyone knows, is to win trophies. For myself [my target] is to improve every season. I think if I score 32 goals in one season, I can do better. I know it’s a big number but why not!? If you dream about and fight for it, you can do it. I will keep improving on that and trying to do better and better and keep trying to give more assists. My best season with assists was 20, I don’t know how many I have this season, but I have to reach that level again.”
A lot of people we say we are now in the final, but you guys won’t say that?
“[Laughs] No, because everyone knows in football that anything can happen! And we know if we don’t go with the focus and the mentality to win the game in Rome and thinking like we are through or thinking we can draw or don’t concede more than three goals then we don’t go through. We have to go there with the same mentality we did before – go to the game, win the game and try to go to the final with another victory and for us as a team just keep improving. And to do that, we have to score and win games and, if we win that game, it’s a signal we are improving.”