Bruno Fernandes refuses to admit that Portugal’s all-star team is better than the side that won Euro 2016 as Manchester United star claims reigning champions ‘will go until the end’ to try and reclaim title
Bruno Fernandes admits this Portugal team will never be able to prove they are better than the team crowned European champions five years ago.
The consensus of opinion ahead of Euro 2020 has been that coach Fernando Santos has a stronger squad of players with more talent at his disposal.
Creative forces including Fernandes, Bernardo Silva, Diogo Jota and Joao Felix have all emerged in recent years to support Cristiano Ronaldo in attack.
Bruno Fernandes claims this Portugal side will not be better than the side that won Euro 2016
Fernandes was not part of the side that won the 2016 European Championship in France
Stalwarts such as Pepe, Joao Moutinho and Rui Patricio remain in the squad, adding vital experience, but the Portuguese are reluctant to invite comparisons and, with that, more pressure.
‘It’s difficult to say because five years ago we lifted the trophy,’ said Fernandes. ‘Now we are here fighting to do the same again. I don’t know if we can be better because if we reach the final and lift the trophy again it is the same as five years ago.’
Fernandes has made a terrific impact since his move to Manchester United in January 2020.
He scored 28 goals in his first full season at Old Trafford and has emerged as one of Europe’s most valuable midfielders.
The Manchester United star is now a key component of an all-star Portugal side at Euro 2020
‘All these stats don’t really matter,’ said Fernandes, from Portugal’s training camp in Budapest, ahead of Saturday’s Group F fixture against Germany. ‘Contracts, money, most valuable player – it doesn’t really exist.
‘The most valuable is us and we will go until the end. We are united. Without team spirit there is nothing. The most important thing is us. That will help us achieve our goals, the perfect us.’
Portugal started the defence of their title with a 3-0 win against Hungary on Tuesday.
Fernandes (second left) started Portugal’s victory in their Euro 2020 opener win over Hungary
‘Every game is difficult in Euros,’ said Fernandes. ‘We’ve had some surprises not a lot with Hungary but every game is different.
‘Teams play in different ways. We know the individual skills of German players but our focus is on the collective.
‘We know what we have to do. Regardless of the victory against Hungary there are things we have to correct and we will correct for next game. Our focus is to give our best against Germany in order to win.’