Soccer

Manchester United star Bruno Fernandes gives fitness update and judges Liverpool form

Man Utd: Solskjaer hails Fernandes amid form struggles

Manchester United star Bruno Fernandes has refused to criticise Liverpool, despite their topsy-turvy form under Jurgen Klopp this season. And he’s also insisted he’s eager to take part in the FA Cup tie on Sunday night. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side go into the contest looking to beat the Reds for the first time since March 2018, back when Jose Mourinho was manager.

Fernandes has been pivotal for United in the Premier League this season.

He’s scored 11 goals in the competition so far, while also registering seven assists to propel the Red Devils to the summit.

On Sunday, however, attentions turn to the FA Cup.

United haven’t won that tournament since 2015, when Louis van Gaal ruled the Old Trafford roost, and know Liverpool stand in their way of progressing to the fourth round.

Fernandes has appeared jaded in recent times but, speaking to the club’s official website, has insisted he’s recovered from the 2-1 win over Fulham on Wednesday night and is eager to take part.

“Well, you always recover well when you win so I am ready for the next one,” he said of his fitness.

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Liverpool have struggled of late, with the Reds only winning one of their last five matches across all competitions.

That’s led to suggestions Klopp’s side have gone stale and they currently sit six points behind United at the top of the Premier League table.

But Fernandes has refused to criticise the Reds, warning his team-mates they’ll have to be at their rip-roaring best in order to emerge victorious.

“I think teams have moments,” he said.

“I don’t think Liverpool are playing poorly. I think they don’t win and this is the point.

“When teams don’t win, everyone talks about that. When players don’t score, everyone talks about that. I feel that on me because I know the standard is high, because I arrived and I scored a lot of goals and make a lot of assists, and everyone is wanting goals and assists from me.

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“It is the same – everyone expects goals from Salah, from Firminho and from Mane. They are not scoring in the last games and it starts feeling like ‘oh, they are not playing well’.

“They create, they play, but the other teams are playing better and, as I said before, they have more qualities to play.

“Every team goes there to play maybe without the pressure of the fans. Teams play a little bit more comfortably and, as I say, I think it is a moment.

“We don’t have to look at that moment because big teams and big players can show in every moment.”

The 26-year-old also added: “In the past already, I have seen Manchester [United] playing for a long time and I know what that game means for the fans.

“Everyone knows and of course, for us, it means a lot because it is a cup [game] and it is a chance to put one of the strongest teams who are in the cup with us out.

“So we have to take that.

“Of course, we have so many teams in the cup in this moment that maybe you can have an easier game than this, but if you want to win the cup then you have to beat the biggest teams, so we have a chance now to beat one of the best that is left in the FA Cup.”

Fernandes thinks football is harder without supporters – as the match against Fulham in midweek showed.

“Yes, as everyone knows, I think without the fans it is harder to play because the [opposition] teams are playing with a little bit of less pressure, so they can keep the ball, they have more time on the ball, they start playing with it a little bit more,” he said.

“Maybe before the pressure of the fans to call them to go forward, and go direct, and all of that stuff, but teams now play a bit more and I really liked the way Fulham played.

“They didn’t surprise me because I had seen some games of theirs and I think they have really good qualities.

“They are well trained to be better than where they are in this moment.”

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