Eric Cantona “was the catalyst to win things” at Manchester United and Bruno Fernandes has to emulate, Steve Bruce points out – as Newcastle boss believes the playmaker cannot be compared to the club legend
- Bruno Fernandes has already scored 21 goals and made 12 assists this season
- Its effect has been compared to Eric Cantona’s trophy spell in the club
- Cantona and Steve Bruce won three championship titles and two FA Cups together
- Bruce believes Fernandes has to win titles to receive Cantona settlements
- His fighting Newcastle side will face Manchester United on Sunday night
Steve Bruce rates Bruno Fernandes very highly, but the Newcastle head coach believes comparisons with Eric Cantona should be tempered until the Portuguese bring back the glory days to Manchester United.
Fernandes has been a driving force since arriving at Sporting Lisbon’s Old Trafford a little over a year ago and has already scored 21 goals and made 12 assists in all competitions this season.
The impact it has had has been compared to when Cantona joined the Red Devils almost 30 years ago. The Frenchman’s signature has often been hailed as the final piece in the puzzle that preceded a period of sustained success.
Bruno Fernandes has scored 33 goals for Manchester United since joining Sporting Lisbon for £ 55m last January
Bruce realizes how influential Fernandes was, but believes the only way to make the attacking midfielder stand by his former United teammate is to bring silverware to the club.
“What to judge over a period of time is what they have won. Of course, Eric was the catalyst for us to win things, ”Bruce said before Newcastle’s trip to United on Sunday night.
‘The way Fernandes has been playing for the past 12 months, it feels a bit like Eric because it’s his stage. Eric loved everything that came with playing for what is arguably the biggest and best club in the world.
Steve Bruce (center, left) won three Premier League titles as a player with Eric Cantona (left)
“Fernandes did a fantastic job, it’s his stage. It is a wonderful compliment to him that he is on the same anthem sheet as Eric.
“Now they have to get things done and win like Eric did, and win cup and semi-finals on big occasions. If he does, you can of course compare him to Eric. ‘
Bruce is again without top scorer Callum Wilson and defensive trio Fabian Schar, Federico Fernandez and Javi Manquillo this weekend due to injuries. Midfielder Jeff Hendrick is available after suspension.
Newcastle have had a tough season with the side six points ahead
Wilson has been instrumental in the Magpies this season, scoring 10 of their 25 league goals, although Bruce is optimistic that his absence can be overcome for an unspecified period due to a thigh problem.
‘He’s our center forward and he’s vital to us this season. We’re going to have to go without him for a couple of weeks, and we are, but I’m confident we can do it, ”added Bruce.
Dwight Gayle started the season when he replaced Wilson in Monday’s defeat at Chelsea, placing the Magpies in 17th place ahead of United.
The 31-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season and Bruce was excited about the striker’s future after this season ended.
“There are a number of players on contracts and Dwight is one of them,” added Bruce.
“I’m sure there will be talks in the next few weeks, but we are in the middle of Covid and are trying to secure our place in the Premier League. So the discussions will continue.”
Dwight Gayle will face United in the absence of the injured Callum Wilson