Ruthless Ten Hag backed to make Bruno Fernandes the first casualty of Man Utd mauling at Liverpool
The captaincy of Bruno Fernandes could be the first casualty of the 7-0 thrashing Man Utd received at the hands of Liverpool, and three viable alternatives have been named by a report.
Manchester United fell to their heaviest ever defeat in a competitive match against Liverpool on Sunday. Erik ten Hag’s side had been lauded for the will, spirit and determination they’d shown this season, though those three traits were sorely lacking at Anfield.
Among the biggest offenders was stand-in captain, Bruno Fernandes. Harry Maguire is officially the club’s skipper, though Fernandes has worn the armband for the vast bulk of the season due to Maguire being relegated to the bench.
Fernandes was often seen flailing his arms in the air, arguing with officials, play acting and choosing not to track runners.
It was a display labelled “disgraceful” by United legend Roy Keane, while Gary Neville didn’t hold back either.
While working as a commentator for Sky Sports, Neville was aghast at what he saw from Fernandes when Ten Hag made a late substitution. The Dutchman elected to replace Marcus Rashford, a decision that seemingly irked Fernandes who appeared to ask to be the one to come off instead.
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Neville brutalises Fernandes
Neville responded with: “Bruno Fernandes is stood in the centre circle with his arms raised asking: ‘Why is it me not coming off?’ Honestly, I have to say some of his behaviour in the second half has been a disgrace.
“The second half has been an absolute disgrace, a shambles. Epitomised by no one more than the captain Bruno Fernandes, who I think has been embarrassing at times in this game.”
At full-time, Neville added: “I have had enough of Fernandes throwing his arms around, whinging at everyone, holding his face when touched.
“That wasn’t a captain’s performance from a Manchester United player, and I am sure Erik ten Hag will deal with that.”
Now, a remarkable report from Goal has stressed one way Ten Hag can deal with the petulant Portuguese is by giving the armband to someone more deserving.
Their reporter, Richard Martin, writes Ten Hag’s first response must be to ‘take the captaincy off Fernandes immediately.’
Ten Hag has adopted a far sterner approach to the club’s playing personnel than former managers, not least Ole Gunnar Solskjaer who was often viewed as a light touch.
Indeed, Ten Hag publicly admonished Cristiano Ronaldo after he refused to come on as a substitute against Tottenham.
Ten Hag later benched the red hot Rashford against Wolves on New Year’s Eve after a bout of lateness. His decisive action in the latter regard was subsequently hailed by United legend Paul Scholes.
The Manchester Evening News’ Richard Fay wrote Fernandes should be setting the standards while wearing the armband, but in fact ‘lowered them’ on the Anfield turf.
Goal acknowledge Fernandes has been among United’s top performers this season. As such, dropping him or taking even more drastic action would likely be counter-productive to the club’s aims.
However, one avenue Ten Hag could explore is relieving him of the captaincy and the report names three viable alternatives who’d do the armband justice.
Three Man Utd stars captaincy material?
The trio in question are David de Gea, Rashford and Casemiro.
De Gea is United’s longest serving player in the first-team, while Rashford is homegrown and the lifeblood of the team.
Casemiro, meanwhile, oozes leadership and has wasted little time making those around him play up to his level since arriving from Real Madrid.
In the event Ten Hag does show a ruthless streak and strips Fernandes of the armband, he certainly doesn’t lack for suitable successors.
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