Bruno Fernandes says Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez are “like water and wine” for Manchester United, as he lauded the relationship the pair have forged this season, as well as Victor Lindelof’s ability to slot in required.
Martinez arrived at Old Trafford in the summer in a £52m deal from Ajax and was heavily criticised for his early showings, with one such criticism one of the worst pundit takes of the season.
But he has since proven to be a brilliant acquisition for Erik ten Hag’s side, and Fernandes has revealed he had little doubt the Argentina international would prove to be a success in the Premier League.
He told ESPN Argentina: “I knew Licha, I’m not going to say that I knew him a lot, but I knew his qualities with the ball, because I had seen some matches. I knew how he came out well from behind, obviously we know that with the Argentine blood, there’s always a little more hunger there, a little more desire, so you know they always give a little more. You always know that when an Argentine player arrives, he will bring you this… these things that teams often lack.
“And Licha arrived well, he arrived earning his place, he’s a player that people believed could not, given his height, play in the Premier League, because we know that it is a very physical championship. But I’m not very strong either and I’ve been playing here for three years. So I think that this mentality that Licha has, this winning mentality, this desire to show himself as one of the best, makes him so good.
“I knew that the fans would like Licha’s way of being, I knew why United fans here like people who want, who want more, who fight, who leave nothing to do in the match, who leave everything on the pitch. And I think Licha always does that, then you can play well or badly, it happens to everyone, but I think that the mentality he has and what he does in matches is what makes the fans like him.”
Bruno Fernandes hailed the partnership between Martinez and Varane, also reserving praise for Lindelof, with Harry Maguire’s name conspicuous by its absence.
“I believe he arrived and did very well, the moment for the team also changed. We started to have more or less the same players more regularly, and I think for him, the many games he played with Rapha at his side went well. Because Rapha is a very calm player, the difference between Licha and Rapha, as we say, is like water and wine.
“So they complement each other very well because Rapha has this tranquility, this thing of knowing the moments, like Licha has, but Licha has more… like me, a little. With that fire inside that often doesn’t let us control the moments.
“And I believe that Rapha complements Licha very well, like Victor, as they do. But I think with Rapha he found the stability as a player that probably makes him better. They played many games together that gave us a lot of peace of mind, a lot of quality behind us and I believe that Licha is making a big difference for us.”