Bruno Fernandes has been dropped for Manchester United’s Premier League clash with West Ham on Saturday night. And Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has now opened up on that decision. The Red Devils will step out at the London Stadium looking for a fourth top flight win on the trot after recent victories over Everton, West Brom and Southampton.
United have gone strong for today’s Premier League clash with Southampton, despite Fernandes being named among the substitutes.
Dean Henderson starts in goal, with the England international replacing David De Gea.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof make up a back four.
In midfield, United have chosen to deploy Paul Pogba, Donny van de Beek and Scott McTominay.
And, up top, Solskjaer has named Anthony Martial, Edinson Cavani and Alex Telles in his attack.
Now, speaking before the game, the United boss has opened up on his team selection. He told MUTV: “He has been kicked between pillar and post, he got kicked v Southampton so I did not want to use him if I didn’t have to.”
On De Gea, he added: “The knee injury David had after Southampton flared up a bit so we did not want to take a risk.”
Solskjaer feels United have benefitted from Fernandes’ arrival, saying recently: “We’ve got some exceptional pace on the break and when we have to drop deep and defend, we know we can use that.
“But we want to be on the front foot. With Bruno coming it, we’re managing to break teams down more often.
“After that, we added Donny, with his movement, his cleverness around the box and spatial awareness, which is brilliant for us, then there’s Edinson, who can be in the box, and Alex [Telles] with his crossing.
“So, we’re working on the style by trying to piece together a squad of players which gives us more ways to play.
“What’s exciting is that these players can improve as well. Most of them are still in a phase of their careers where they can develop a lot.”
Fernandes was named United’s Player of the Month for November, and also picked up an award for his sensational goal against Istanbul Basaksehir.
And he thanked supporters afterwards, saying: “Of course, it’s always important when you receive this kind of award.
“Every player wants and likes to receive this kind of award because it means you are doing well and doing the right things so let’s keep going like that.
“I thank the fans too,” he added.
“Because all the support they give me and they give the team is very, very important.
“Now everybody understands it’s more difficult because they are not with us and we hope soon we can have our supporters in our stadium. But we look forward to giving some joy to them watching from home.”
Fernandes also reacted positively to Solskjaer’s claims that he’s a leader within the dressing room.
The Portugal international said: “I think it’s something natural in me.I don’t do anything like saying ‘I want to be a leader or I want to do things in a different way to someone’ it’s the natural way I am.
“It’s something that’s in my game. Sometimes you have to improve also on this because you need leadership from different players in different modes.
“For me the point is helping everyone with my voice when I can and also with my energy and everything I do in the game to help the team.
“The most important thing for me is helping my team-mates in any way I can, if it’s with my voice then it’s with my voice, if it’s with my energy then it’s with my energy.”
United lost 2-0 when they met West Ham last season at the London Stadium. And they could only manage a 1-1 draw when they faced off at Old Trafford in July, with Greenwood on target.