Manchester United’s caretaker coach Michael Carrick has benched his former club teammate Cristiano Ronaldo for the side’s trip to Chelsea this afternoon.
Following Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s sacking seven days ago, the Norwegian’s assistant Carrick oversaw Tuesday’s 2-0 group-stage win at Villarreal in the Champions League.
While Ralf Rangnick is expected to be named interim manager of United until the end of the season, Carrick again takes charge of the Red Devils for their Premier League fixture today.
And somewhat controversially, Carrick has benched Ronaldo while opting to start Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho up front for United.
Carrick told Sky Sports: “A few tweaks and changes to freshen things up, of course Cristiano is the standout name, but it’s just a game plan and idea. I had a good chat with Cristiano, we decided to go with that.
“It’s a decision to pick a team to be honest, I don’t think it needs more than that. Everybody has been terrific, Cristiano included, he’s ready to come on if needed to come and win the game. We’ve come with a plan, we’re happy with the team we’ve picked and we’re looking forward to the game.
“That’s your opinion [that the United line-up is designed to stop Chelsea], we’ve come here looking forward to the game and trying to win the game. It’s a tough game, obviously, Chelsea are playing ever so well. A great run of games and some massive results, but it’s one we’re relishing. We’ve had a good week considering the situation.”
Chelsea XI: Mendy, Chalobah, Rüdiger, Silva, Jorginho, Alonso, Loftus-Cheek, James, Hudson-Odoi, Werner, Ziyech
Chelsea subs: Barkley, Christensen, Mount, Arrizabalaga, Ñíguez, Lukaku, Havertz, Pulisic, Azpilicueta
Manchester United XI: De Gea, Bailly, Lindelöf, Wan-Bissaka, Telles, McTominay, Matic, Fred, Bruno Fernandes, Sancho, Rashford
Manchester United subs: Henderson, Martial, Jones, Mata, Lingard, Ronaldo, Greenwood, Dalot, Van de Beek