Bruno Fernandes says it is the responsibility of every Manchester United player to be a leader for the team after inspiring his side to a 3-1 win at Everton.
The Red Devils eased some of the pressure on manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Goodison Park on Saturday as they bounced back from consecutive losses to Arsenal and Istanbul Basaksehir.
Bernard put Everton ahead after 19 minutes but United responded well, with Fernandes heading in Luke Shaw’s cross to level the scores.
The Portugal international put the visitors in front when his cross went in off the post after Marcus Rashford had tried to glance it in, the goal coming at the end of a 20-pass move, the second-longest sequence leading to a goal in the Premier League in 2020-21.
United defended stoutly in the second half, with Everton failing to record a shot on target after their opener, and Edinson Cavani settled the contest with his first United goal after Fernandes set him up on the break.
Fernandes has now been involved in 15 goals (10 scored, five assisted) in his first 10 away games in the Premier League, which is a record in the competition.
In his 21 league appearances overall since joining from Sporting CP in January, Fernandes has scored 13 times. In the Premier League era, only Ruud van Nistelrooy, Robin van Persie (both 16), Dwight Yorke (15) and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (14) have scored more in their opening 21 top-flight games for United.
His display belied criticism from some former players that United lack leaders, but Fernandes himself said it is up to all of the squad to show those qualities.
“We know, inside the dressing room, what we have to do, the players we have, and everyone needs to be a leader,” he told BT Sport.
“Some of them are the, I don’t know how to say it in English, but the [quiet leader], you know? They don’t talk too much and they’re doing the right things. Others need to speak a little bit more, to be more inside the game, to feel more part of the game.
“The point is, at the end of the game, taking the three points is for everyone, not just for one player.”
Fernandes has been credited with United’s second goal even though Rashford appeared at first glance to have got his head to the cross, but he would be happy to see his team-mate claim it.
“I don’t care! If Marcus touched it a little bit, it can be his goal. It’s no problem for me,” he said.
“The most important [thing] for me, as a number 10, is serving my team-mates, as I did in the end for Edi. I had the chance to shoot and maybe look for the hat-trick, but I see Edi along and he had the chance.
“If Marcus can take the second goal, it’s not a problem for me.”