Despite having a relatively quiet game by his lofty standards, Fernandes bagged a goal and assist to help Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side see off Steve Bruce’s strugglers to move back up to second in the league.
The 26-year-old has emerged as United’s talisman and has transformed the club’s fortunes since his £68million arrival from Sporting Lisbon last January, consistently putting in standout performances to keep Solskjaer’s side with an outside chance of winning the title.
Bruno Fernandes scored and assisted again to help Manchester United beat Newcastle
Paul Scholes has hailed the ‘sensational’ Fernandes following his display on Sunday
Fernandes’ contributions on Sunday saw him join Tottenham’s Harry Kane and Bayern Munich’s Thomas Muller as the only players in Europe’s top five leagues to register double figures in goals and assists this campaign.
And United legend Scholes has lauded the Portuguese midfielder once more after the win at Old Trafford, labelling the Red Devils star ‘sensational’.
‘There’s definitely progress, Ole has brought a real attacking threat to this team and Bruno Fernandes has been the big difference,’ the former midfielder said on BT Sport.
It is the seventh time that United’s talisman has done so in a league game this season
‘Only Mo Salah has got more goals than him this season. The influence he has had on this team has been sensational. United before [his arrival] could not create many chances or score many goals.
‘He didn’t really have a massive effect [against Newcastle] but they are the standards we expect from him now. Assist and another goal, the assist was lucky I suppose but he’s made a hell of a difference to this football team.’
It was the seventh league game in which Fernandes has provided a goal and assist this season, with no other player in the top five leagues registering the same tally, according to Opta.
Meanwhile, United boss Solskjaer praised his side’s second-half performance after going into the break level following a lacklustre opening 45 minutes against the Magpies.
Fernandes has transformed the Red Devils and Scholes lauded the Portuguese’s impact
‘We had to up the tempo a little bit, especially in the last third and I felt we managed to do that,’ the Red Devils boss said at full time.
‘It is always difficult after an away game in Europe. It took until half time really, even though we dominated the ball we couldn’t create too many big moments.
‘It was about moving the ball quicker, being cleverer in our positioning and we found our positions better and some good goals.’
Sunday’s win keeps the Old Trafford club’s faint hopes of winning the Premier League title alive
Solskjaer singled out winger Dan James, who bagged United’s second to put them ahead once more. The Welshman has been on the outskirts but has enjoyed a strong week having scored against Real Sociedad.
‘He [James] has never disappeared, he’s been working hard behind the scenes, always been available, always a player you can use in different positions. He is learning the game and I’m very happy for him.
‘We work with him, we try to help everyone, Dan came from the Championship up to Man United, hit a few goals in his first games – it’s bound to take some energy away from you with the headlines and media attention but he has knuckled down and worked to get that confidence to believe in himself.
‘Now he knows he is a good player.’