Manchester United would benefit from a captain “who is less emotional” than Bruno Fernandes, according to BT Sport pundit Paul Scholes.
Despite the unwanted attention, Erik ten Hag has publicly backed Fernandes and stressed that he is “definitely” keeping him as the club’s vice-captain.
“Your captain has to be a calming influence, really. He has to be the leader,” began Scholes, ahead of United’s last-16 Europa League tie against Real Betis at Old Trafford. “He almost has to be the one who calms down characters like him.
“I’d worry about him if Manchester United, in March [or] April time, are going for a league title, I don’t think him as your captain would be ideal.
“Going forward, the bigger games, bigger parts of the season, going for trophies and big Champions League finals and stuff, I think a captain who is less emotional might be better.”
However, Scholes believed there has been an overreaction to Bruno’s performance, adding: “You have to remember he’s being asked to play in positions that he’s not comfortable with doing, and I think he’s sacrificing himself for the team for that.
“He was clearly frustrated with his team-mates. I think when he looks back, I don’t think he’ll be proud of what happened on Sunday, throwing his arms up in the air, pushing the linesman.
“And I think he’ll learn from that. Going forward, I think he’ll try to get rid of them little annoying things in his game.”
Singling out Fernandes for walking back after United lost possession during Sunday’s loss, former United midfielder Owen Hargreaves said: “If you’re the club captain, that can’t happen.”
Hargreaves said the United team as a whole would be “surprised” by the goals they conceded and the attitude they displayed after the humiliating result, which marked the club’s heaviest defeat in almost 100 years.
“I think the body language, they won’t believe,” he added. “I think maybe it is frustration, they’re frustrated with the result and the way they’re playing. But when you’re struggling, you’ve got to fight, you’ve actually got to do more.”
Ten Hag had been asked if Fernandes would continue as captain in the absence of Harry Maguire ahead of the Europa League fixture against Real Beits.
He said: “Yes, definitely. I think he is playing a brilliant season and he has played a big role in us being where we are. Everyone makes mistakes and we learn. I have to learn and he will as well.
“No one is perfect, everyone makes mistakes.
“He is intelligent. I’m really pleased he is our player and he is captain when Harry (Maguire) is not playing.”
Marcus Rashford also spoke out in support of Fernandes.
“I don’t have anything negative to say about Bruno,” Rashford added. “As the manager said, nobody is perfect and sometimes you want to win so bad you end up doing things that are a little bit out of character.
“I think he has been a good leader for us even when he has not been captain. He has helped other players become better leaders.
“I 100 per cent support Bruno, and I am behind him.”
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