Fernandes penned an extension in April 2022 that will keep him at United until at least 2026. But before signing, the Portugal midfielder says he approached football director John Murtough and technical director Darren Fletcher after growing frustrated at a lack of progress since arriving from Sporting Lisbon in January 2020.
“I had a conversation last year with the club when everyone knew that Ralf [Rangnick] was not the coach for the future and when the club decides that I spoke to the club and I said I want to be a solution for the club, I want to be helpful for the club, but I also want to know where we are going,” said Fernandes.
“Is there a plan? Is there a future? This was before I signed my new contract because I said to the club, obviously money is important, no one can hide that, it’s always important to earn more and more and more in football or life, whatever job you do, you always want to have the best for yourself.
“But at that time, for me I said I’m on good money, I don’t want a new contract without knowing that we have a good future in the club.”
Fernandes is yet to win a trophy during three years at United and while he insists he never considered leaving, the 28-year-old says he wanted to know that he would be playing in a team capable of challenging for silverware.
“I came to the club and my aim is winning trophies, because I know how big this club is and I know how big we can still be and achieve good things and big things,” said Fernandes.
“We don’t have to win all the trophies but we have to fight for the trophies and as a club and the quality of players, we have the quality to do that and we’ve been showing that, so I just want to know if this is the future.
“I want to know where we are going? I want to know just as a club, do you think we have a future? Do you have a plan for the future? What are your thoughts on where we can go? What does the club want?
“Does the club want to achieve trophies or does the club want to build something to go to the Champions League?
“Because for me, that’s not enough and the club demands more, the history of this club, the quality of the players we have, it demands more than just being here and fighting for fourth place.
“And the club has said they have a plan, this is what they want, we agree with you that the level of the club has to be better than it has been in the past.”
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Since signing his new deal, Fernandes has become a key part of Erik ten Hag’s new-look team following the Dutchman’s appointment as manager in the summer.
United are into the Carabao Cup semifinals and head into Saturday’s Manchester derby against City on the back of an eight-game winning run.
Ten Hag’s first derby experience ended in a 6-3 defeat at the Etihad Stadium in October but Fernandes believes they are closing the gap with Pep Guardiola’s reigning champions.
“Now probably you can see a team that has a way to play that convinces the fans, convinces the players, it is the right one and one that can win games,” he added.
“You go to every game and the feeling you have now is that we are not afraid to play against anyone.
“In the past you could not see that. Obviously fans believe and trust but felt that when the toughest games were coming there was a little bit of ‘can we do it or not’ but now if you look at the fans, the players, everyone and you feel that we can play face-to-face with everyone at this moment. This is something we have to believe so that game by game we can achieve great results.
“Man City is one of the best clubs in the league but it is about believing in ourselves.”