Bacary Sagna defends Manchester United captain Bruno Fernandes amid criticism of his on-field behaviour
Former Arsenal player Bacary Sagna endorsed Manchester United captain Bruno Fernandes’ leadership capabilities amid criticism over his on-field behaviour. United manager Erik ten Hag appointed Fernandes as the new senior team captain before the beginning of the new season.
Ex-United captain Roy Keane criticized Fernandes’ on-pitch behavior and antics, urging Ten Hag to strip him of the role. Keane raised a valid point regarding Fernandes’ negative reactions during games when things don’t go United’s way.
The Portuguese international’s visible emotions often benefit him but, in turn, damage team morale. Throughout their history, the Red Devils have boasted great captains like Keane, who maintained team focus amid challenges.
However, Fernandes has often led by example and stepped up in high-pressure situations to hand his team the victories. The 29-year-old is the main playmaker in the Red Devil’s squad and has been a consistent performer since joining the club.
Sagna told Paddy Power (h/t Dazn) that Fernandes is a perfectionist who is merely demanding the best from his teammates. He said:
“The one person who decides who the captain should be is the manager, and Erik ten Hag sees Bruno Fernandes on a regular basis, and he knows him better than anyone. He chose Bruno Fernandes as captain because he saw leadership qualities and he’s a winner. He might have the wrong body language and gets upset sometimes but that’s because he’s looking for perfection. Can we criticise a player for not being happy if another player isn’t performing?”
The Portuguese playmaker scored the late winning goal against Fulham in the Premier League, proving his ability to inspire. Fernandes gave a brilliant performance against Copenhagen even though the Red Devils lost the game 4-3 in the Champions League.
The 29-year-old stepped up to score a penalty in the second half during a high-pressure situation as United went 3-2. Fernandes put in a tireless shift in the midfield even though his efforts were in vain in the end.
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United have lost nine out of their 17 games in all competitions and they’re facing vulnerability in many areas. Captaincy should be the last thing to worry about as many senior team players are giving under-par performances. Fernandes is doing everything in his power to rectify the situation at the club and needs complete support right now.