Jason McAteer has admitted that he hoped Liverpool would sign Bruno Fernandes from Sporting Lisbon before he switched to Manchester United.

The former midfielder, who made 139 appearances for the Reds, explained that United's recent success should be put down to the arrival of Fernandes.

After arriving at Old Trafford in January, 25-year-old Fernandes has scored seven goals while providing six assists in 10 Premer League games.

" Manchester United were in disarray not long ago," McAteer told the Racing Post.

"There seemed to be a lack of characters in the dressing room but the lockdown now looks to have provided them with a welcome break and they have benefited from some work on the training ground.

"They have started back well and Bruno Fernandes has been brilliant.

"I saw him play against Liverpool for Sporting Lisbon in the summer in America and he was brilliant. I was hoping Liverpool would sign him and he’s been a huge influence.

"He has made Paul Pogba look a better player and you can tell the younger members of the team have been given more confidence.

"They know that they have a player who is capable of finding them when they are in good positions.

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"Their defence is still a concern and I think they are prone to sulking if they go a goal behind but they are lying in wait for Leicester to continue slipping up and they look ready to pounce.

"Much of their rejuvenation is down to their Portuguese midfielder."