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Bruno Fernandes should not captain Manchester United again

Bruno Fernandes has scored seven goals and provided 11 assists in 40 games for Manchester United this season
Bruno Fernandes has scored seven goals and provided 11 assists in 40 games for Manchester United this season

Bruno Fernandes should not captain Manchester United again following Sunday’s humiliating 7-0 defeat by Liverpool, says Chris Sutton.

The Portuguese, who deputises in the absence of club captain Harry Maguire, was criticised for his behaviour and attitude in the game.

“There are people that are far better qualified to be captain,” Sutton said.

“Fernandes is not their best leader. There are more suitable candidates than him, Casemiro being one.”

Speaking on BBC 5 Live’s Monday Night Club, former Premier League striker Sutton, who also suggested Raphael Varane as another option, added: “I think he should never put on the armband again for Manchester United.”

Fernandes, 28, has 57 goals and 50 assists in 166 games for the club in all competitions, but his body language at Anfield was called “disgraceful” by former United captain Roy Keane, while another former skipper Gary Neville said he was “embarrassing at times”.

He also appeared to push the referee’s assistant in the 81st minute. No action was taken by the referee at the time and the incident is not being investigated by the Football Association

BBC Sport has also been told he did not ask to be substituted towards the end of the match after questions were asked about a gesture he made to the bench.


At one point, when Liverpool’s Stefan Bajcetic went past him by the touchline, Fernandes stopped rather than giving chase to the midfielder.

“That was a standout moment,” added Sutton.

“However bad United were, you cannot just let someone run away from you and give up. That’s what the captain of Manchester United did – and that’s a bad look.

“I don’t think he has any real arguments if he does get stripped of the captaincy,” he added. “I think Bruno’s days have to be numbered.”

The defeat came seven days after Manchester United won the Carabao Cup – their first trophy since Erik Ten Hag’s arrival as manager last May.

They are third in the Premier League and have reached the FA Cup quarter-finals, as well as the last 16 of the Europa League.

Ten Hag, who described his side’s performance against rivals Liverpool as “unprofessional”, dropped the in-form Marcus Rashford earlier this season after the striker missed a team meeting, while Cristiano Ronaldo’s contract was terminated by mutual consent in November.

“The way Ten Hag has dealt with Rashford, Ronaldo, it’s a situation he needs to get a grip of,” added Sutton. “Ten Hag has no option but to let him know who is boss.”

On the United captaincy, football journalist Rory Smith said: “Fernandes is a fighter, he has a win-at-all-costs mentality. To me he looks petulant and whiny, but maybe to other players they just see that as he is desperate to win.”

Smith added: “As much as Bruno was the most eye-catching shortfall, I would query what happened to Casemiro and also Ten Hag’s substitutions. There were more failures than just Bruno Fernandes.”

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