Rio Ferdinand has lauded Bruno Fernandes for having the bravery of taking penalties in games against the ‘big six’.
Manchester United beat runaway leaders Manchester City 2-0 at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday afternoon to reduce the deficit to their neighbours to 11 points.
The Portugal international had received criticism from some quarters prior to the clash with City, with some questioning his performer levels against the Premier League’s ‘big six’.
United legend Roy Keane was one of those who had raised concerns about the 26-year-old, claiming that he cannot be compared to previous greats of the club such as Eric Cantona.
“Fernandes has had great praise and over the past month people have been comparing him to people like Eric Cantona etcetera. But Cantona [won trophies],” Keane told Sky Sports after City’s 2-0 win over United in the Carabao Cup back in January.
“Fernandes didn’t really do much tonight. The top players turn up on the big occasions, and that’s what the Cantona’s used to do to get their hands on trophies. And that’s where this team is a little bit short.”
“I think Bruno before the game, from different pundits and different bits of the media, saying that he doesn’t produce against the bigger teams and his stats do say that,” the former United defender said.
“But immediately, the game comes in and he gets a penalty, everyone says: ‘oh, he scored a penalty, it’s another penalty’, listen, how many penalties do you see get missed in big situations?
“You’ve got to have the minerals to be able to step up and take them and he’s got that.
“I love the way he’s a leader in the way that he takes responsibility, and I think he’s going to be someone that, the impact he’s had on this team, there won’t be more than a handful of people that have had similar impacts in the way he’s come in and done what he’s done for one football club.
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Manchester United secured a memorable 2-0 derby victory over Man City at the Etihad Stadium.
Bruno Fernandes and Luke Shaw scored the goals to clinch an unexpected, but empathic, victory for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s troops against the league leaders.
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“I think RvP, Cantona, Salah has come in at Liverpool and absolutely ripped it up – we can name a few – but the way he’s just come in and changed the whole dynamic of a football club.
“The confidence from a fan’s perspective, it was morbid at the club for a while, it was grey, everything was downbeat, then he comes in and starts throwing numbers about that are ridiculous in terms of his output.
“I just love the way he plays, I love his attitude, yes, he gives the ball away too much for my liking, but when you’re taking risks, that’s what happens.”