Bruno Fernandes hopes that his midfield partnership with Paul Pogba could propel Manchester United into the Champions League places for next season.
Supporters got their first glimpse of a link-up between their two star midfielders on Friday when Pogba came on in the 63rd minute of the 1-1 draw at Tottenham.
When he entered the fray, United were a goal down but Pogba earned a penalty that Fernandes converted in the 81st minute.
And the Portugal midfielder says that goal is just the beginning.
‘We have been training hard in the past weeks,’ Fernandes told Sky Sports. ‘When we trained in groups I was in one with Paul so to find a connection is easier. But I found a good connection with everyone and the most important thing is the team.
‘I think Paul thinks the same [as me] and we are happy. Paul won the penalty, I kicked it, so most importantly it is the team.
‘It doesn’t matter who scores, or the assist, or nothing. I think the more important thing is winning and is about the team.’
Fernandes was eager to stress the importance of qualifying for next season’s Champions League and while he was excited to get some game time alongside Pogba, he was frustrated not to beat Tottenham.
‘As a team we need to look for the Champions League,’ Fernandes added. ‘We need to try to be close to try to catch the guys who are up front. Unfortunately we are one point closer, but they need to play. We’ll see.’
The draw leaves United fifth in the Premier League standings, two points behind Chelsea who resume their season against Aston Villa on Sunday.
Fifth could be enough for the Champions League if Manchester City’s ban from Europe is upheld, but United have company around them.
Sheffield United are only two points behind in sixth and can overtake them with a win against Newcastle on Sunday.
Wolves are three points behind and play West Ham on Saturday and Tottenham are only four points off Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men.
United meet Chris Wilder’s side on Wednesday in what could be the first match Fernandes and Pogba start together.
Reported by: Vincent Paul