Bruno Fernandes has admitted that his standards are so high at Manchester United that he has a "bad mood" for days after a defeat – but says the team "needed" a "winning mentality" that he provides.
In a major exclusive interview in the new issue of FourFourTwo – in shops from April 7 and available to order online now (opens in new tab) – the Portuguese midfielder says that Manchester United "is made for trophies" and that last season's trips to the semi-finals of the FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League were "not enough".
He also opened up about how United could reclaim their place at the top of the Premier League – dislodging local rivals Manchester City.
Asked what would constitute success for him at Old Trafford, the Red Devils' start player told FFT simply: “Trophies."
"We can’t think of anything else at this club," he told interviewer Andy Mitten.
"United is made for trophies and the whole mood is around that. We reached the semis [of the League Cup] and lost to City, but that’s not enough. That wasn’t our time – we need to be in finals, and to win them.”
"The day I joined the club was [Manchester] City away,” he remembers of the January 2020 League Cup semi-final second leg where Nemanja Matic scored the only goal. “We won the match, but we didn’t win because we went out of the cup on aggregate. I saw the team which wanted to do a lot better, but which also had a lot to improve."
“Even now, we know that we have a lot to improve, and we know that when our results aren’t good, the mood isn’t the best. I can see that, because when we lose I’m not the best either. My mood is really bad the day after we lose. The team wanted a winning mentality and needed one.”
Summing himself up, Fernandes says: "I’d say possibly one word to describe me is ‘demanding’. I can be difficult to understand when I lose – I have a bad mood! The people closest to me know that I’m not happy when I lose. I was like it as a little kid and haven’t changed, so they know how to deal with me.
"Normally, my father phones me the day after a game whatever the result. If we’ve lost, he won’t speak too much about the match but still has good words for me. He was a player, as was my brother. They’ll tell me what I did wrong and what I could do better next time."
The big goal for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his side is reclaiming the Premier League title, a trophy the club has now gone without for eight years.
After a period at the top of the table earlier in the season, United now trail Manchester City by 14 points, making it unlikely they will end the barren spell this year, despite their current second place position.
So what's the key to push on and lift the title again?
"To win more matches. It’s tough in England, because the games are so tight. Every team genuinely has a chance to win the match. It’s 50/50 before every game, and we see it with the results.
"But we’re doing better. We can’t drop as many points as we do at home, but we’ve been in second, and at the start of the season there weren’t many people who were saying United would be second.
"After a few games and a bad start, nobody was saying United could reach the top of the table, but we ignored what people were saying on the outside. We knew what we had said on the inside, we had confidence that things would improve, and they did. We still have to be the best United we can, but we have improved."
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