‘The captain sits next to me’: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer shocks Bruno Fernandes in press conference by revealing he will skipper Manchester United against PSG as Harry Maguire misses out through injury
- Manchester United face PSG to start their 2020-21 Champions League campaign
- Harry Maguire has been ruled-out with an injury after the 4-1 win at Newcastle
- Fernandes will wear the armband instead of the Englishman on Tuesday night
- The midfielder was taken by surprise by the announcement in front of the press
Maguire was left at home when United flew to the French capital on Monday afternoon, and Fernandes was sat next to manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at the pre-match press conference when he was asked who would wear the armband in Parc des Princes on Tuesday night.
‘The captain sits next to me. Bruno will captain the team tomorrow,’ declared Solskjaer.
Bruno Fernandes is set to captain Manchester United against PSG on Tuesday evening
Club captain Harry Maguire scored in a 4-1 win over Newcastle but has been ruled-out injured
Solskjaer surprised the Portuguese midfielder with his announcement in the press conference
‘Bruno has definitely come in and had a great positive impact. The stats show that and his performances have been receiving great praise as well.
‘He has come in and if not changed the team he’s sparked something in the team and I hope we’ve sparked something in his career. That was a turning point in our season last season and we hope from more to come.’
The announcement clearly caught Fernandes off guard as he was forced to admit the honour was news to him.
‘I was not expecting this,’ he admitted. ‘I found out this the same time as you!
Fernandes scored in United’s victory at St James’ Park, keeping up his fantastic form
Last season’s Champions League finalists PSG await as United being their European campaign
‘It is an honour and an important achievement for me. The captain is everyone – everyone needs to help, be a leader in their way.
‘I think I’m playing well in the last few months but I have to improve and do better. I think I can do much better than before. I know my numbers are good but I’m sure I will do better numbers and games than before.’
Solskjaer landed in Paris with some key absentees – Maguire, Edinson Cavani, Mason Greenwood, Eric Bailly and Jesse Lingard – just as he did when United stunned PSG 3-1 on the last visit here in the Champions League last 16 in March 2019. However, the United boss was reluctant to make too many comparisons between the two games.
‘We hope the players won’t be away for too long,’ he said. ‘Edinson needs a few more days training before the weekend, and hopefully Harry, Eric and Mason as well but we’re not sure about that.
Despite United’s poor start to 2020-21 Fernandes has shone, with three goals and three assists
‘Of course, that (the last game) is history for us. It’s in the past. A great history and a great game, but it has no impact whatsoever on this game. We’re a different team, they’re a different team, it’s a different stage of the competition.
‘Of course without fans it’s going to be a different. The last game when we got the first goal early on and that impacted the ground, but it’s a completely new situation.’
Solskjaer denied that Greenwood’s absence was due to a disciplinary matter involving the youngster and Brandon Williams.
‘If that’s the case why is Brandon here?’ he said. ‘I can’t declare medical stuff can I? We hope it’s just a niggle and we don’t want to take any chances with him. Hopefully at the weekend it’ll be fine again.’