Bruno Fernandes benched: Solskjaer explains why Man Utd star absent from starting XI for West Ham clash

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Bruno Fernandes, Man Utd 2020-21
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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer opted to rest his Portuguese playmaker for a trip to West Ham, with a key creative influence named among the substitutes

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has revealed the thinking behind his benching of Bruno Fernandes, with the Manchester United midfielder taken out of the firing line during a trip to West Ham.

A Portugal international has become a talismanic presence for the Red Devils during his time at Old Trafford.

High standards have been maintained by an on-field leader in 2020-21, with 10 goals and five assists contributed to the collective cause.

Fernandes is, however, an energetic performer who occasionally needs to be rested for his own good.

He can be the target for some rough treatment from opponents, with his creative qualities needing to be shackled by any of those hoping to contain United.

With that in mind, and with the games continuing to come thick and fast, Solskjaer opted to name Fernandes among his substitutes at the London Stadium.

Marcus Rashford was also selected among the replacements, with the England international shaking off a shoulder problem picked up in a Champions League defeat to Paris Saint-Germain.

Explaining his selection calls, Solskjaer told Sky Sports: “Bruno has been kicked between pillar and post lately. He got a kick against Southampton and he’s another one that if I don’t have to use him, I’d like not to.

“Rashford is fit enough to be on the bench. We need all the points we can get in these games of course and Marcus held his arm up, with a bad shoulder, and he’s said he’s ready if needed.”

While Fernandes and Rashford remain at Solskjaer’s disposal, David de Gea was a notable absentee from United’s matchday squad in east London.

He was forced off in the Red Devils’ last Premier League outing - a dramatic 3-2 win at Southampton – but returned to the fold for a 3-1 reversal against PSG.

Solskjaer admits the Spaniard is still struggling for full match fitness, with the decision taken not to gamble against the Hammers.

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“The injury he had after Southampton has flared up a little bit so we didn’t want to take a risk with David so we kept him at home,” United’s boss added.

With De Gea ruled out, Dean Henderson has been handed a first Premier League start for United.

He will be looking to help Solskjaer’s side maintain their impressive recent run on the road, with four successive victories collected away from Old Trafford.

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