Bruno Fernandes vowed to fight for trophies until the very end as the fiercely-competitive Manchester United playmaker laughed off suggestions that tiredness had crept in recently.
This week brings up the one-year anniversary of the Portuguese’s big-money switch from Sporting Lisbon to Old Trafford, where the 26-year-old has surpassed even the most optimistic expectations.
Nobody has scored more goals for a Premier League club than Fernandes since his debut, with the midfielder taking his tally to 28 with his thumping free-kick winner against rivals Liverpool on Sunday.
Fernandes came off the bench to seal United’s 3-2 triumph and set up a home FA Cup fifth-round clash against West Ham, but collective glory rather than fleeting joy is his focus.
“I think every goal is a great moment, every win is a great moment for us,” Fernandes told the PA news agency.
“Personally, of course, scoring the last goal in a game like this against one of the biggest rivals we have is always important.
“But I think the most important moment in Manchester, in the club, will come when I get a trophy.”
Sunday’s victory means United are gunning for glory in the FA Cup, Europa League and Premier League, where Fernandes has played a key role in propelling Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side to the top of the pile.
There is certainly growing belief around Old Trafford, thanks in no small part to the former Sporting Lisbon player fuelling improvements on and off the pitch since arriving last January.
“I come to the club because I knew I will come to a club who wants to win everything – and my mentality, my way to be in my life and football is about winning,” Fernandes said.
“And so you have to be confident, you have to trust your team-mates, you have to trust yourself, and you have to believe.
“And I will believe until it’s not more possible, you know? Like when I see someone get the trophy before me then I will (have) lost my belief.”
Fernandes’ winning mentality is clear and fuelled by his hatred of losing.
“I always was like this,” he said. “I don’t like to lose, so I think maybe the mentality is more like I don’t like to lose.
“I don’t conform with losing games is normal stuff. For me, losing is not normal so my mentality comes from that, you know?
“Also playing whatever it is, when I was playing with my friends, my brother, with my neighbours, I never want to lose so I want to win every time. This mentality will be with me for the rest of my life, I think.”
Fernandes has set a high bar since joining United and there was talk that his first taste of England’s frantic festive schedule had made an impact after falling below those standards in last weekend’s 0-0 draw at Liverpool.
“Tired? With 26 years old I can’t be tired!” he said with a laugh.
“If I’m tired now, when I arrive at 30, 32, I will not play. I will play one game in five so, no, I’m not tired.
“Of course the coach knows what is better for the team and (for FA Cup tie) he choose to play with Donny (Van De Beek) to give some freshness to the team.
“I think it’s fair enough because Donny is training really well, he’s been important for us and will be more and more important in the future.
“I think the team played really well. It was a good game, both parts playing really good football, intense and with some goals.
“I think the ones who start they play very well. The ones who come from the bench help the team to win and this is the most important.
“Everyone has to be ready to play first 11 or to come in and the most important is the team win games. Everyone will be happy when the team wins.”
It is a winning feeling that he hopes to have again at Old Trafford on Wednesday, when rock-bottom Sheffield United arrive in the Premier League.
“They are a tough team,” Fernandes added.
“They are not doing well because they’re not getting points but they’re still a tough opponent to play against. But we have to look to ourselves and make our game and try to win.”