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Carrick axes Fernandes in first major decision in charge of Man Utd

Bruno Fernandes is the first casualty of the post-Ole Gunnar Solskjaer era with Michael Carrick opting to leave him on the bench for his first game as interim Man Utd boss

Who will get the Manchester United job?

Michael Carrick has left Bruno Fernandes out of his first Man Utd starting XI as he prepares for his first game in the dugout.

The former assistant will assume the top job against Villarreal in Spain and has already caused a stir.

Fernandes, signed back in January 2020, was a mainstay under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer but has been snubbed by Carrick just days after the Norwegian’s sacking.

Meanwhile Donny van de Beek, so often overlooked by the previous manager, has come in for a rare start.

The Dutchman scored the final goal of the Solskjer era in the 4-1 defeat at Watford.

Fred and Scott McTominay also start meaning United could play a midfielder three, or Van de Beek may assume the No 10 role often occupied by Fernandes.

Michael Carrick has opted to leave Bruno Fernandes on the bench

Alex Telles has also come in at left-back despite being used sporadically by Solslkjaer.

Anthony Martial, another man who has struggled for minutes this season, is part of an attack that also includes Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho.

The trip to Spain is the first of two big games this week with a game against Chelsea to come this weekend.

United sit top of their Champions League group, but defeat at the hands of Villarreal and a win for Atalanta would see them slip down to third.

A late Ronaldo winner was required to see off the LaLiga outfit earlier this season.

Carrick was quizzed on the potential changes he would make and said: “We will have to wait and see really.

“I worked with Ole closely, similar beliefs as a coach and manager. Got my own personality but it is very similar because that is why we worked together.

“I’m not giving my plans away but I am very clear in my own mind.”

Donny van de Beek has come straight into the starting XI

Villarreal managed to get the better of United in the Europa League final back in the summer and Carrick knows full well the threats they pose.

He added: “They are a very good team, well organised, well coached. Two different games.

“The final we played very well, stopped them for long periods but no cutting edge. Manner of the lose hurt but got to say we weren’t good enough on the night.

“Other game. They have good technical players, speed, penetration. They have a good mix, good balance. We respect that.”

Man Utd XI: De Gea, Telles, Maguire, Lindelof, Wan-Bissaka, Fred, McTominay, Van de Beek, Sancho, Ronaldo, Martial

Subs: Henderson, Heaton, Bailly, Dalot, Fernandes, Lingard, Mata, Matic, Amad, Rashford

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