Bruno Fernandes has targeted Europa League glory after leading Manchester United back to the Champions League.
The midfielder scored in United’s 2-0 win at Leicester on Sunday as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side sealed third in the Premier League.
It meant they return to Europe’s elite competition next season after a year’s absence and can now focus on trying to win the Europa League.
United lead LASK 5-0 from the first leg of their last 16 tie, and face Istanbul Basaksehir or Copenhagen in the quarter finals as part of a mini tournament due to be played in Germany from the last eight onwards.
Fernandes scored 10 goals after joining from Sporting Lisbon in January to inspire United’s top four return and now he wants silverware.
“Now our focus is on the Europa League because this is a really good trophy and we want to win,” he said.
“I came to Manchester to win trophies. We need to play every game to win. If we go into the Europa League and win every game, we know we’ll win the trophy.
“But we are not happy enough because we know this club and these players, they can bring much more for the club.
“I think we have qualities enough to fight for some titles – more than one title. I think we need to win some trophies and then we’ll be really happy.”
Fernandes’ penalty and Jesse Lingard’s late goal, after Kasper Schmeichel’s error, sent United into the Champions League at Leicester’s expense on the final day.
“We feel good, it’s what we wanted,” man-of-the-match Fernandes told MUTV. “We trained hard and we worked hard for this moment. We know the only thing we could achieve this season was getting into the Champions League, so we fought hard for that.
“Of course, playing Champions League is always special and I hope it can be with the supporters, that will be more special.
“We deserve to be in the best games, in the best European competition. Nothing against the Europa League, but everyone knows the best competition is the Champions League.”
United’s return to the Champions League is a significant milestone as the Red Devils seek to close the gap to rivals Liverpool and Manchester City in the battle for Premier League supremacy.
“Liverpool and City have been running away with it in the last couple of seasons so to get third is a massive achievement for the team,” said Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
A huge 33-point gap to champions Liverpool shows the strides they still have to make to become title contenders again, but since the January signing of Bruno Fernandes transformed the mood and results at Old Trafford, no team in the Premier League has won more points.
“Bringing Bruno in, in January, has made a big difference,” said Harry Maguire, who cost United a world record 80 million ($103 million) for a defender at the start of the season.
“To finish third in the Premier League should be a minimum requirement from this club, but next season we have to keep improving and building.”
A third-place finish should buy Solskjaer time that did not look likely when Old Trafford turned on the team during a miserable 2-0 home defeat to Burnley in January.
The Norwegian has already proved himself adept at building a counter-attacking team capable of upsetting the odds. – AFP.