Nottingham Forest boss Nuno Espirito Santo has singled out Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes for praise ahead of the Premier League clash with Manchester United.
The Portuguese manager has replaced Steve Cooper at the City Ground and has his work cut out for him as they loom only two points outside of the relegation zone.
He has began his tenure with two close results against Bournemouth and Newcastle going either way. A last-minute winner from in-form Dominic Solanke stung Nuno’s side before they produced a second-half become to win 3-1 against The Magpies earlier this week.
“I don’t want to say too much but he’s definitely one of the best players in the Premier League,” said Nuno. “He’s so competitive. Maybe some of the guys in the media criticise him but being competitive inside the game is something I think all professionals should have.
“It doesn’t mean you can ignore winning, drawing and losing. But it makes a big difference in your life and changes everything so to have this desire of always wanting to win and always wanting to do it makes you grow and makes you better.”
Fernandes, 29, became Manchester United’s club captain in the summer after stepping in for Harry Maguire for the most-part of last season. He has five goals and five assists so far this term during United’s difficulties.
“People in Portugal have a lot of respect for him,” Nuno added. “He plays for the national team, he’s captain of Manchester United and, as Portuguese, we are proud of him.
“Especially to the young generation, he represents a lot of good. Not only him, but Cristiano (Ronaldo) and all of these players – we’re very proud they’re doing so well around the world.”
Fernandes and United will feel confident going to the City Ground following their dramatic comeback win against high-flying Aston Villa.
The Forest manager is wary of the abilities of the United team despite their stumbling first half of the campaign and believes that his team will need to defend with quality if they are able to stop the attacking threats from Erik ten Hag’s side.
“It’s not just Bruno,” he added, “Manchester United are a big club with fantastic players. We have to take care of all of them, they’re good.
“And we saw how they came back from behind and how quickly they changed the game, so it will be difficult. We have to compete and improve defensively.
“I think we did well defending our own box but we have to be very careful because they have threats all over the pitch.”
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