BRUNO FERNANDES has admitted for the first time that he needed convincing to stay at Manchester United.
The Portuguese midfielder, 28, signed a new deal in April which keeps him at Old Trafford until 2026.
But the club struggled to tie down their star player as their season crumbled in the wake of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s sacking and Ralf Rangnick’s period as interim manager.
Fernandes feared they were going to become permanent also-rans before a chat with football directors John Murtough and Darren Fletcher convinced him that would change.
Fernandes said: “I had a conversation last year with the club when everyone knew that Ralf was not the coach for the future.
“I spoke to the club and I said I want to be a solution for the club, I want to be helpful for the club, but I also want to know where we are going.
“Is there a plan, is there a future?
“This was before I signed my new contract because I said to the club, obviously money is important, no one can hide that.
“It’s always important to earn more and more and more in football or life, whatever job you do, you always want to have the best for yourself.
“But at that time, for me I said I’m on good money, I don’t want a new contract without knowing that we have a good future in the club.
“I want to know where we are going, I don’t need to know who the manager is, but I want to know just as a club, do you think we have a future?
“Do you have a plan for the future? What are your thoughts on where we can go? What does the club want? Does the club want to achieve trophies or does the club want to build something to go to the Champions League?
“Because for me, that’s not enough and the club demands more, the history of this club, the quality of the players we have, it demands more than just being here and fighting for fourth place. It demands trophies, it demands at least fighting for trophies.”
So Fernandes sat with the Dircector of Football Murtough and former player and now Technical Director Darren Fletcher and had it out.
Fernandes said: They’re the people we have closer for the players to talk to. So that was the conversation I had with them, to understand that the aim for the club is still the same they said to me when I signed in 2020.
“And the club has said they have a plan, this is what they want, we agree with you that the level of the club has to be better than it has been in the past, we can achieve much more, we can do much more and that’s why I have never had my head out of here but just making sure the club is still in the same direction that it was when I signed.”
Fernandes, who joined United in January 2020, signed a new deal last March for four years with the option of a further year on the club’s part.
This lunchtime he leads United out as captain in the derby against Manchester City at Old Trafford with the club on the back of an eight game winning run.