Michael Carrick explains decision to drop Bruno Fernandes in Man Utd’s Villarreal tie

Michael Carrick has taken charge of Manchester United until the club secures a manager that will see them through until the end of the season, and the interim is already making some bold decisions in regards to his team selection

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  • 18:47, 23 Nov 2021
  • Updated19:21, 23 Nov 2021
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Bruno Fernandes has been one of Manchester United’s best players since he arrived at the club last year, but interim manager Michael Carrick surprisingly dropped the playmaker for his first match in charge on Tuesday night.

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Carrick took charge of United after club legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked on Sunday following a humiliating 4-1 defeat at the hands of Watford.

Of course, given the recent spell of results, it was inevitable that Carrick would have to make some significant changes to his side in order to turn the tides at the club.

However, no one expected the former England international to drop Fernandes as United take on Villarreal in a crucial Champions League tie on Tuesday.

Michael Carrick made a bold decision when selecting his team to take on Villarreal
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Image:
Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images)

Speaking ahead of the tie, Carrick explained his decision.

“Not one of those (the squad) have been the best, there's no hiding from that, we know that, but there's a team to be picked.

“I love Bruno, he's a fantastic player and a good person,” the 40-year-old told the press ahead of kick-off.

“He ran his socks off on Saturday, gave absolutely everything, he's played a lot of games as well.

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“It's a job to pick the team, that's why I'm here. That's the team I've picked with but it doesn't mean Bruno isn't important by any stretch."

Fernandes has assisted a goal in all four Champions League this season but he has underperformed in the league recently, failing to register a shot on target in the last two months.

Carrick continued: “I've only been in this job for 48 hours, but there are decisions to be made and a team to be picked, I was spoilt for choice really.

“Five subs is a lot to choose in the Champions League, there will be a lot of players to play a big part tonight, and just because a player is on the bench doesn't mean they're not important at all.”

Bruno Fernandes was only named as a substitute on Tuesday night
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Image:
PETER POWELL/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

Given that United have suffered humiliating defeats in three of their last four games, against the Hornets, Manchester City and Liverpool, it's no shock that Carrick has tried to showcase that every player must improve.

But no one expected it to be Fernandes that is potentially made an example of.

The significance of the absence of the Portugal international in the starting lineup was somewhat masked by the inclusion of Donny van de Beek.

The Dutchman was signed by Solskjaer yet the manager never truly gave him opportunities to fulfil his £35million price tag, much to the surprise of fans.

Carrick insisted that he is a huge admirer of Fernandes

The 24-year-old has played just 67 minutes of Premier League football so far this season and many are hoping that whoever replaces Solskjaer will manage to convince the former Ajax playmaker to remain at Old Trafford.

It remains to be seen just how successful Carrick's decision to leave Fernandes out of his starting lineup is, and the impact it has on the squad.

Given that Fernandes has scored 30 goals and assisted 22 in 66 Premier League appearances, it is unlikely that the 27-year-old will be out of the team for long.

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