Juan Mata is confident that Bruno Fernandes and Odion Ighalo could hand Manchester United the expected impetus to boost the club’s quest for a top-four finish in the Premier League.

Former Liverpool and England star Jamie Redknapp has described Odion Ighalo and Bruno Fernandes as inspired signings ahead of Sunday’s Manchester derby at Old Trafford.

Both Ighalo and Fernandes were January signings for United and have so far impressed.

Fernandes has been instrumental in midfield since his £46.6m move from Sporting Lisbon.

While Ighalo has also made a fast start, scoring three goals from two starts, including a well-taken double in Thursday’s FA Cup win at Derby.

And speaking on a special Manchester derby preview podcast, Redknapp said about Fernandes: “The Bruno Fernandes signing has been huge for the club, sometimes it can just take one player to change the feeling, the way they train.

“I love his attitude. He dictates the pace of the game. And when you see him live you see a player who can pull the strings. He’s not gone in there and taken it easy, straight away he’s gone in and he’s organising.


“To a certain extent he’s like the manager on the pitch. And that’s what you want – somebody who can run a game for you. Ole must be so happy with that signing, considering they nearly didn’t sign him. They were umming and ahhing over the fee but he looks quite cheap now.”

And on Ighalo: “Brilliant signing. There was no doubting his ability. Even at Watford he showed glimpses and Ole obviously knew him, so they’re inspired signings and they’re the ones you want.

“If you’re building a team for the future, you’re not going to put Ighalo in it for the next five years but right now, as a stop gap with Marcus Rashford injured, Ole needed somebody to come in and make a difference and against Derby he was fantastic and took his second goal extremely well.

“And that will give him a lot of confidence. Even if he doesn’t start, to come off the bench and make a difference, that’s what you need as a manager.”

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