Paul Scholes has leapt to Bruno Fernandes’ defence after the Portuguese took heavy criticism for his poor performance in Manchester United’s 7-0 thumping by Liverpool on Sunday.
Fernandes has been roundly criticised for his behaviour and conduct during United’s evisceration at the hands of Liverpool on Sunday, with fellow Red Devils legend Gary Neville going as far as to call it a ‘disgrace’.
There have been calls for Fernandes to lose his status as United’s de-facto on-field captain, with permanent skipper Harry Maguire rarely selected.
However, Scholes broke rank to support the player despite being hammered by pundits and fans alike, pointing the finger elsewhere – specifically referring to a lack of quality in various areas on the pitch.
‘I actually feel sorry for him [Fernandes] when he’s played,’ Scholes told Premier League Productions.
Paul Scholes has defended Bruno Fernandes amid Portuguese coming in for heavy criticism
United’s de-facto on-field captain was criticised by pundits and supporters alike for his behaviour
Scholes pointed to his moving around the field playing a number of different positions for the team
‘He’s been pushed out to many positions to do a job for the team, he was on the left today, he’s been on the right, he’s played through the middle, he has been a little bit all over the place.
You can’t say any of the players performed the way they should have done but I thought he was especially poor today, it wasn’t his greatest afternoon.
‘But I think there are a couple of players in that team that when it comes to big games like this I don’t think they’re quite at the level.’
His comments came after he picked out Wout Weghorst, in particular, as not being good enough if United want to return to their glory years.
‘You’re talking about a Manchester United No.10 or a centre-forward, he’s in the team to be defensive. He’s the one who runs about and rats about and everybody likes playing with him because he does that. But quality-wise as well you’ve got to have a certain level of quality to play for Man United… it’s not there.
‘Look, I don’t want to be too disrespectful. I don’t want to be too disrespectful to the team because they’ve been great, they’ve just won a trophy. I keep saying the word ‘freakish’, that is a really freakish day that, that is a really freakish day. I think they’ve got the experience, the character, the quality in the team to recover from that.’
Scholes’ comments come amid fellow United legends picking out Fernandes specifically following the club’s heaviest defeat in any competition since 1931.
Neville, who claimed Fernandes was asking to be substituted after the sixth Liverpool goal, scored by Mohamed Salah, said he had ‘had enough’ of his perceived on-field petulance.
‘I’m going to start with Bruno Fernandes,’ a fuming Neville said on Sky Sports. ‘I’ve had enough of him throwing his arms around at his team-mates; I’ve had enough of him not running back; he whinges at everybody.’
He added: ‘He got pushed in the chest and went down holding his face. He’s got to put a captain’s performance in out there and that wasn’t a captain’s performance by a Manchester United player.’
‘Fernandes’ body language today was disgraceful,’ fellow pundit Roy Keane added.
‘He’s a really talented boy, he’s your captain. But his body language, waving his arms not running back, you wouldn’t be happy with him.’
Fernandes himself fronted up to the television cameras post-match, saying the result and performance were unacceptable.
Gary Neville (right) tore into Bruno Fernandes for his whinging antics against Liverpool
Neville called the Portuguese star ’embarrassing’ for his playacting in the defeat at Anfield
‘It’s frustrating. It’s a really bad result, we came here with a different mindset. The first half was really good, we controlled most of it, the second half was nit at our level,’ Fernandes said. ‘We give too much space away. We know what a threat they are.
‘It was not our level. We know we can be better. Its just about going to the next game. The team tries to react but we lost a bit of balance and control. We gave too much space to a team that is strong on the counter. The games our coming quick.
‘We know this team is really good and can do really good things. We have set a really good standard for ourselves, now its just about getting back to that. We are still in the Europa League and A Cup, we have to get back on track.’
‘We are in the hunt to win the next game against [Real] Betis. We have to go game by game,’ added the Portuguese.