Bruno Fernandes sends message to Manchester United teammates ahead of facing Liverpool FC
Bruno Fernandes says the prospect of Liverpool tying with Manchester United on 20 English titles is a motivation in their quest to end their own championship drought.
Liverpool’s Premier League triumph last year marked their first title in 30 years to take them to within one of United’s 20-trophy haul, 13 of them attained over a 20-year period under Sir Alex Ferguson’s stewardship.
League leaders United travel to Anfield on Sunday three points above Liverpool and at the summit in January for the first time since 2013, the year of their last title. The acquisition of Fernandes last January has elevated United from also-rans to potential challengers and the 26-year-old is acutely aware of United’s rivalry with Liverpool.
“Of course I know. Everyone knows,” Fernandes said. “You don’t want your rivals at the same level as you, or with the same amount of trophies as you. So it’s clear for everyone here at the club and in the dressing room, everyone knows what it means for the supporters.
“But the main point for us is to know what every game means to us. Every game has to mean the same. We have to go into every game with the same mentality as we have for Liverpool. It can be different playing against Burnley to Liverpool. I understand for the fans it’s different but for us it can’t be different because the result we want is the same and nothing else.
“So I understand the fans and we will try everything to give them some joy but I think they enjoy it anyway because we go into every game to win and they enjoy winning games.
“Of course for them, the next day, going to talk to their friends who may be Liverpool fans it’ll be much better if you’ve been the winner than the loser. And it would be a lot more fun with 21 titles and Liverpool still on 19, of course, but the main point for us is to keep going and make our best in every game.”
Fernandes expressed his exasperation at a fourth semi-final defeat within a year following last week’s Carabao Cup tie with Manchester City and stressed ‘we have to learn and understand that we can’t make the same mistakes anymore’ in an impassioned Twitter post.
The Portugal international won the inaugural Nations League in 2019 and the domestic trophies in his homeland with Sporting Lisbon. United are in the midst of their longest trophy drought since the five-year period between 1985-1990 and approaching the fourth anniversary of their last triumph in the Europa League final.
United have been relegated back down to the Europa League after a fleeting return to the Champions League but Fernandes is targeting a treble.
“When you come to a club like Manchester United, you come to win trophies,” Fernandes stressed. “It doesn’t matter now that we’re out of the Carabao Cup and Champions League, and going into the Europa League, the main thing for me is that every trophy I have in front of me I want to win.
“So at this moment we have three trophies we can win – the Europa League, FA Cup and Premier League – and we will go for all of them. But for us it’s about winning game by game because being first in January or beating Liverpool in January and going six points ahead doesn’t mean you will be champions.
“You have to have the mentality to keep going and doing well and to keep doing well you need to win the next game and the next one and the next one.
“I feel the pressure every day I come to train at United. You have to put pressure on yourself. I think Liverpool being champions, they know what they have to do, they know what it is to have pressure on them. But we have to focus on what we have to do because we have a lot of pressure [on us].
“Everyone knows playing for Manchester United means playing with the pressure on but this is what you want as a player. If you don’t have pressure on you, it’s become you’re not doing the right things. For us, for growing up, we have to go into these games to try to win it. “