'Fernandes has brought a cutting edge to Man Utd' - Watford were 'very impressed' by €55m midfielder, says Cathcart

Manchester United's performances have been "much better" since Bruno Fernandes' arrival at Old Trafford, according to Craig Cathcart, who says Watford were "very impressed" when they came up against the midfielder.

United snapped Fernandes up from Sporting in a €55 million (£49m/$60m) deal on January 30 with a five-and-a-half-year contract.

The 25-year-old has adapted to the pace and intensity of Premier League football like a duck to water, scoring three goals and providing four assists in his first nine outings for the Red Devils.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men seem to have raised their collective standards with the Portugal international leading by example in the middle of the park, embarking on an 11-match unbeaten run which has reignited their hopes of a top-four finish and ending a two-year trophy drought.

Fernandes' best performance to date arguably came during a 3-0 home victory over Watford on February 23, where he netted his first goal for the club from the penalty spot.

Cathcart has now revealed how difficult the Hornets found dealing with the ex-Sporting star that day, while expressing his belief that the playmaker has added a "cutting edge" to United's line up.

"I think we were all very impressed," the 31-year-old defender told MEN.

"The thing that impressed me most was that he always looks forward. He always gets the ball and his first thought is to pass forward and create chances, which maybe they were missing before.

"He's brought that bit of quality and cutting edge to the final third and since he's come in their performances have been much better, from what I've seen."

Cathcart, who rose through United's academy ranks as a youngster, went on to assess Solskjaer's first full year in charge at Old Trafford, praising the Norwegian for how he has successfully blended youth with experience.

"Obviously since Sir Alex left, it's been difficult for United, so I think this is a new way of looking at things," he added. 

"I can see this now being good for them, you can see young players now coming into the team and doing really well, so there's no reason why they can't progress and improve.

"They've obviously signed a few players as well, they've signed Fernandes who everyone's raving about. He looks a quality player and that's the mix you need, a good mix of experienced players and youth as well. I think things are looking up."