Man Utd fans give verdict on stripping Bruno Fernandes of captaincy

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Manchester United have been urged to make a firm decision on stripping Bruno Fernandes of the captain’s armband by Express Sport readers after the midfielder’s petulant on-pitch behaviour during the closing stages of Sunday’s thrashing at the hands of Liverpool. Fernandes was one of many United stars who fell below expectations at Anfield and appeared to have totally given up towards the end of the match, which saw Liverpool hit the Red Devils for seven in a barn-storming performance that will be remembered for decades to come.

Fernandes simply trudged around the pitch as the clock ticked down and even stopped in his tracks at one point instead of challenging Liverpool youngster Stefan Bajcetic for the ball, while he also gestured to the away dugout in frustration on a number of occasions. He has since been widely criticised for his antics by fans and pundits alike, leading to a widespread debate over whether or not he should be stripped of the United captaincy as a result.

It seems as though the overwhelming view of Express Sport readers is that Erik ten Hag should choose a new skipper, with 73 per cent of respondents to our latest football survey eager to see Fernandes face the music in light of his recent actions. However, there was some support for the midfielder among 23 per cent of readers, who said that United should continue with him as their captain for the foreseeable future.

Fernandes was also voted the worst player on the pitch against Liverpool by quite some distance, with 55 per cent of respondents in agreement that he was the least inspiring in a long list of underperforming United stars. Antony was another popular choice with 22 per cent of the vote, while Luke Shaw was named as United’s weakest link by another 12 per cent of readers.

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Meanwhile, it remains to be seen how Fernandes will respond to the recent wave of criticism aimed in his direction when United return to action in the Premier League against Southampton at Old Trafford this weekend. He looks set to continue wearing the captain’s armband for now after retaining the public backing of Ten Hag, who insisted earlier this week that no drastic changes would be made to the player’s situation in spite of his antics against Liverpool.

“He’s playing a brilliant season,” the United boss told reporters. “He’s had a really important role in why we’re in the position where we are. He’s giving energy to the team, not only running a lot at the highest intensity, but the right way and right direction.

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“He’s coaching players, he’s an inspiration, but no one is perfect, everyone makes mistakes. We have to learn, he has to learn, he will because he’s intelligent, I’m happy to have Bruno Fernandes in the team and that he’s captain when Harry isn’t on the pitch.”

Marcus Rashford was also quick to defend Fernandes in the aftermath of United’s defeat at Anfield, saying: “He’s done a lot in terms of bringing his leadership skills in, from the moment he arrived. Like the manager said, nobody is perfect, sometimes you want to win so bad you end up doing things a little out of character. As a team we have to support him because he’s a fantastic player.”

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