Fernandes: We’ll enjoy the challenge

Bruno, the club, while you’ve been here, have worked so hard to get into the Champions League and you’ve not always managed it. How much of a blow would it be if you didn’t qualify for the knockout round?

“Obviously, for us, it’s really important to be in the competition. We want to be in the middle of the best clubs in Europe. As I said, it’s obviously disappointing if we don’t go through, but I’m not thinking about that at the moment. I’m just focused on the game against Galatasaray, because the only way we can go through is winning against Galatasaray and going to the last game with a chance to go through. So our focus at the moment is on winning this game, knowing that we play against such a good opponent away from home, where the atmosphere will be intense. But I think everyone, as a kid, you enjoy and you want to be in these kind of stages, big stadiums, big atmospheres, so you just have to enjoy the challenge.”

You gave Marcus the penalty. Was that something in your mind before the game, or was that just in the moment?

“No, it was in the moment. I talk about this already. I thought that Marcus needed his first goal, he is such an important player for us and he hadn’t scored in the Premier League [since September]. Last season he was our top scorer, so we know that he’s important for us, he’s someone that can score a lot of goals. And I think for strikers and wingers sometimes it’s about getting his first goal and after that they’re going to get on the straight to score more and more goals. And we need our strikers and our wingers to be in the positions to score goals and to have the confidence to score them.

“We have a list of penalty takers, and their number in the order of penalty takers – who is going to be the first, second or third. First being myself because in the past few years it has always been me. But when I arrived at the club, Marcus was the penalty taker. He was injured when I arrived so I started taking penalties. He was always respectful on the side, saying ‘you’re doing it now, you’re doing it well, so keep going.’ At moments he had his moment to take the penalty and sometimes we’ve had moments to give the ball to each other. I think it’s not important who takes it, because I think the manager puts a paper out there with the penalty takers and the two names for that game was me and Marcus. So, it’s just about deciding who’s going to take that. It doesn’t have to be always Bruno. It doesn’t have to be always Marcus. But it has to be someone where we are 100 per cent sure that the ball is going to go in. We are never 100 per cent sure because it’s 50/50 every time. I could have taken the penalty and missed and we will never know. But the thing is that Marcus took it and he scored.”

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