Paul Ince hails ‘winner’ Bruno Fernandes for having a similar impact at Man United to Eric Cantona as he insists midfielder has ‘raised everyone else’s game’ and ‘belongs at Old Trafford’ after transforming them into title contenders this season
- Bruno Fernandes has been key in Man United mounting a title charge this season
- Paul Ince believes he has made a similar impact at the club to Eric Cantona
- Cantona helped United win their first title in 26 years in his first full season there
- Ince praised Fernandes’ leadership and his ability to produce moments of magic
Paul Ince has hailed Bruno Fernandes’ inspirational role in Manchester United’s Premier League title charge and compared his impact at the club to Eric Cantona’s.
Fernandes has been the driving force of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team ever since joining from Sporting CP a year ago and has been key in transforming United into title contenders this season.
Cantona propelled United to their first league championship in 26 years in his first full season at the club in 1992-93 and Ince, who was part of that title-winning team, admits he can see echoes of the Frenchman’s brilliance in Fernandes.
Paul Ince (R) heaped praise on Bruno Fernandes (L) for having a huge impact on Man United
Ince admitted he sees comparisons between Fernandes and United legend Eric Cantona
‘When I look at Cantona, we had already won the Cup Winners’ Cup against Barcelona and the FA Cup so we weren’t that far away, it was just the league that was eluding us at that time,’ Ince said on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football.
‘I had seen Eric play in the Charity Shield at Wembley when he scored a hat-trick [for Leeds against Liverpool] and thought that he looked a decent player, let’s see what he looks like when he comes to Old Trafford.
‘He walks in, 6ft 3in, a statue of a man, with a massive presence about him. He just sat there and belonged at Old Trafford.
‘He came in and knitted us all together. He was that missing piece in the jigsaw. The goals he created, he made everyone raise their game. I think that is what Fernandes has done.’
Fernandes has been in rich form in front of goal but Ince says he’s raised everyone else’s game
Cantona played an inspirational role in his first full season at United to fire them to the title
Ince said the Frenchman was the missing piece in the jigsaw as they won the league in 1992-93
Fernandes has posted similar numbers of goals and assists to Cantona in his first two seasons at the club and his form this term has helped United to move up to second in the table, behind Liverpool only on goal difference and with a game in hand.
Former United star Ince highlighted Fernandes’ importance to Solskjaer’s team by saying he is their go-to man to dig them out of trouble because he is capable of producing moments of magic.
United similarly leaned on Cantona during his time at the club and Ince has been impressed with the leadership Portuguese star Fernandes has shown since joining last January.
He added: ‘Eric could do absolutely everything. It was just those moments where you had to win the game. Much-needed goals. You know, those moments when you start to worry, start to panic, and the game is not going your way and you don’t know where the goal is coming from.
Fernandes has helped United make a title charge this term and has posted similar numbers of goals and assists to what Cantona did during his first two seasons at the club
‘That is when he would pop up and score a vital goal. I think that is probably the same with Fernandes. He scores vital goals. He is the talisman.
‘Sometimes you might not see him for 25 minutes but he has always got that technical ability to do something magic at the right time. Whether it is a penalty, a wonderful ball, a free-kick, he has always got that in his locker so you can never rule him out of any game.
‘The players love him and he has got a character about him. We talk about character all the time and how we are losing that trait in football. But there was a time when I watched him have a go at [Victor] Lindelof. He puts demands on players.
‘For someone to come from a foreign country, Portugal, to a club like Manchester United and put demands on his players. He is a winner and it is infectious.’
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