Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has started Bruno Fernandes as Manchester United captain against Real Sociedad as he ‘won’t allow’ a dip in focus.
United lead La Real 4-0 ahead of their second-leg Europa League round-of-32 round at Old Trafford after a thrashing in Turin.
The tie should all be over as a contest after Solskjaer’s side dismantled their La Liga opponents, despite some fears it may be a struggle to get a positive result.
Regardless of United’s almost unassailable advantage, Solskjaer has selected a strong side including first-team regulars Victor Lindelof, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Fred, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood.
Fernandes will lead the Reds out at Old Trafford and Solskjaer explained before kick-off that he has remained in the starting lineup because of his elite mentality.
“He’s done it before,” he told MUTV, as quoted by Utdreport.
“He’s one of the vocal ones. I know it’s going in 4-0 up… sometimes it’s going to challenge your mentality because you might think ‘we can step it down a peg or two’ — Bruno won’t allow that.”
Some supporters on social media have expressed concern at Fernandes’ inclusion because of risk of burnout and the possibility of handing him a rare rest in a game that should be a procession.
But Solskjaer values Fernandes as a leader and the totemic Portuguese playmaker has a chance to improve his incredible goal record further this evening.
Meanwhile, talented United teenagers such as Amad, Shola Shoretire and Ethan Galbraith will all be hoping to make an impact from the bench.