Paul Ince has compared Bruno Fernandes’ influence at Manchester United to that of Eric Cantona.

Fernandes has revitalised United since joining from Sporting Lisbon last January with the Red Devils in the Premier League title race.

They sit level on points with leaders Liverpool but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side crucially have a game in hand.

Fernandes has been heavily involved since making the switch 12 months ago, and Ince believes the mentality he has brought to the Premier League giants is similar to the one Cantona delivered.

Ince said: "When I look at Cantona, we had already won the Cup Winners Cup against Barcelona, the FA Cup, we weren't far away. That league was alluding us at the time.

Bruno Fernandes has been sensational since joining Man Utd last January
Bruno Fernandes has been sensational since joining Man Utd last January

“I remember the situation because I think Leeds wanted to buy Dennis Irwin, they said no chance is he leaving Manchester United. You know, then they asked about Eric. Believe it or not they said yes.

“He looked a decent player but let's see what he's like when he comes to Old Trafford.

“He walked in 6ft3in, mountain of a man, huge presence about him, sat there and we said 'he belongs at United'. He was the missing piece.

Paul Ince has spoken about the influence of Bruno Fernandes at Man Utd
Paul Ince has spoken about the influence of Bruno Fernandes at Man Utd

“He raised their game. That's what Fernandes has done. He's come in and made everybody raise their game.

"He scores vital goals. I think he was very impressive first game. Hit the ground running.

“This year I don't think he's been as impressive but he's still a major factor in the team, a major talisman in the side.

“Some games you might not see him for 20-25 minutes but he's always got that technical ability to do something magical at the right time.

Eric Cantona was one of Sir Alex Ferguson's best signings at Manchester United
Eric Cantona was one of Sir Alex Ferguson's best signings at Manchester United, having joined from rivals Leeds in 1992

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“Whether it's a penalty, a wonderful ball into the box, a free-kick, he's always got that in his locker.

"The players love him and he's got a character about him. We talk about character so many times in football, how we're losing that trait in footballers.

“There was a time when he was having a go at Lindelof. For someone to come from a foreign country, to come into a club like Manchester United and put demands on these players, this team, is a winner. And it's infectious."