Bruno Fernandes is the main man at Manchester United, taking all penalties and most free-kicks, but with Portugal he often sees himself further down in pecking order because of Cristiano Ronaldo.
However, the midfielder who was voted Player of the Year by our fans insists that his focus is on the team doing well, not who takes dead balls.
I already did take one [free-kick]. I’m already doing it, but it’s not necessarily my focus here. We have many players who can take them in their clubs and here. It’s not important who takes it. The only important thing here is to help the team whatever way I can do that and, if I can help them with the goals inside or outside of the penalty box, I will be happy. Our goal is to help the national team to win and I’m no exception.
Having beaten Hungary 3-0 in the ‘group of death’, which also includes France and Germany, Fernandes has reflected on the team strengths that he hopes will propel them through the tournament. Bruno was his country’s most creative player, making three key passes, which was more than more than Diogo Jota, Ronaldo, and Bernardo Silva combined, but insists Portugal’s success is in the collective.
It was down to the training and the skill of the players, and it was a demonstration of what we can do. We are happy to have won and even better for having scored such a collective goal. It proves that this is what really matters. Ronaldo is influential, as always. He is another one who wants to do his best and is making a difference. The most valuable player in the national team is the ‘we’. The ‘we’ is the most important, there are many Is, but the ‘us’ is what counts.
With the confidence from the opening result, Fernandes is aiming to see his country win every game in the group stage.
Our aim is to win every game. Now it’s Germany and we’re going to prepare the game to win it. Every game is different, the opponents are different, but our focus is collective. We know what we can do to correct what was less good [against Hungary] in trying to defeat Germany, who we know to be strong opponents. The pressure we have is to play for our country, nothing more.