‘Fernandes has had a great impact’ – Solskjaer surprises Man Utd star with captaincy for PSG clash
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer surprised Bruno Fernandes at a joint media conference by announcing he would captain Manchester United against Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday after hailing the Portuguese's recent impact.
Fernandes has been a revelation since his arrival from Sporting in the January transfer window, scoring 12 goals in 22 appearances across all competitions during the second half of the 2020-21 season.
He also ended the campaign as the club's joint highest goal creator in the Premier League, sitting alongside Marcus Rashford with seven assists.
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The 26-year-old has picked up where he left off this term, with his fine goal in United's 4-1 Premier League win over Newcastle United on Saturday taking his tally to three goals in five appearances.
With Harry Maguire absent for United's Champions League clash in Paris, Solskjaer had no hesitation in giving the captain's armband to Fernandes after his impressive start to life as a United player.
"Bruno has come in and had great impact with all the stats showing that," he rold reporters ahead of the clash in Paris.
"His performances have been receiving real great praise as well. He has not changed the team, but he has sparked the team."
A visibly surprised Fernandes admitted he had no prior knowledge of Solskjaer's decision, describing it is a major milestone in his career.
"I was not expecting this, I have found out the same time as you," Fernandes said. "For me it's an honour. I will be captain for my team-mates and to be captain of Manchester United is an important achievement for me.
"But I think everyone is the captain. Everyone needs to help and be a leader in their own way; leadership is different in every player. Tomorrow will not be about me but the team.
"Leading is every day in the training ground, every game and everyone is doing their job to lead the team in the way they think is best."
Tuesday's game will be the first time the sides have met since United's stunning last-16 win over the French giants in March 2019, when Rashford's stoppage-time penalty sealed a 3-1 win in Paris after a 2-0 defeat at Old Trafford in the first leg.
Solskjaer remembers the game fondly but insists it will have no bearing on how the match pans out against Thomas Tuchel's men this time around.
"Of course, that's history for us," Solskjaer said. "It's in the past. Great history, 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, also without fans it's going to be a different game. Because in the last game, when we got the first goal early on that impacted the ground, it's a completely new situation."