Manchester United’s stand-in captain, Bruno Fernandes, has faced reaction and criticism for his antics during the Red Devils’ 7-0 loss to Liverpool on Sunday. The 28-year-old was chastised by Gary Neville and Roy Keane for his actions as United’s discipline deteriorated with each score in the second half, and there have been calls for him to be stripped of the captaincy.
This season, Fernandes has worn the armband in Harry Maguire’s absence but has been chastised for protesting during a substitution, which Neville accused the midfielder of wanting to leave the pitch but was later rejected by the club. Numerous instances throughout the game raised questions about Fernandes’ suitability to be United captain, especially given that Maguire is expected to leave Old Trafford at the conclusion of the season.
Former Chelsea striker Chris Sutton spearheaded calls for Fernandes’ captaincy to be revoked. “There are far more qualified people to be captain,” Sutton told the BBC.
“Fernandes is not the best leader they have. There are better candidates than him, Casemiro being one of them. I believe he should never wear the Manchester United armband again.”
But, word around the club is that Fernandes is well-liked by both his teammates and head coach Erik ten Hag. Fabrizio Romano revealed on his YouTube channel that Fernandes is well-liked by his Manchester United teammates because he has a great relationship with them and they have no issues with the Portuguese star.
They agree with Ten Hag, who Romano believes likes the playmaker despite his attitude in the Liverpool defeat. He went on to say that Ten Hag’s faith in Fernandes was evident because one of the first demands the Dutchman made to the board was to authorize a new contract for Fernandes, who wrote the deal and prolonged his stay at Old Trafford until 2026.
Fernandes stated after the game that he was “frustrated” with his team’s performance in the defeat, as seen by his on-field escapades. “It’s incredibly annoying, disappointing, and sad because it’s such a horrible result,” he said to Sky Sports.
“Before the game, we arrived here with a different mindset. We played pretty well in the first half and had a lot of chances. We probably controlled the majority of the first half; they didn’t produce anything.
“[In the second half] we tried to go ahead and score goals and we lost a bit of balance. We gave up too much space against this type of team. It must be avoided. The games are coming at a breakneck pace. We’ve suffered setbacks in the past, and we need to recover swiftly this time. This is what Manchester United is all about; we can fall, but we must rise again.”