Ian Wright believes Antony’s petulant swipe at Jeremy Doku in the Manchester derby is directly related to Bruno Fernandes setting the wrong example as club captain.
The £82million signing was lucky to escape a red card after he appeared to kick out at the Manchester City winger in the closing stages of United’s 3-0 defeat at Old Trafford.
Antony earned himself a yellow card for twice taking a swipe at Doku and then slapping the City player’s arm away when he remonstrated.
And Wright believes the Brazilian’s behaviour stemmed from Fernandes’ example.
‘Bruno sometimes just goes off and they’re not ready. It’s not good for the team,’ he told The Kelly and Wrighty Show.
Bruno Fernandes’ captaincy at Manchester United has come under scrutiny
Ian Wright believes the Portuguese is setting the wrong example as club captain
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‘Watching Antony come on and his contribution was to kick out at [Jeremy] Doku like that, but the example of the captain is seeping in. That’s the captain doing it.’
United were comprehensively outclassed by City at Old Trafford with Fernandes again coming under scrutiny for a perceived lack of leadership in the drubbing at the hands of the Premier League champions.
Speaking on the same show, former United midfielder Owen Hargreaves noted the boundaries between commitment and petulance can often become blurred where Fernandes is concerned.
‘I know he looks moody but I think he tried to kick out [to a City player] to show the fans he cares but it doesn’t come across in the right way and it frustrates a lot of people,’ he said.
The former England international believes Erik ten Hag should shoulder some of the blame for the midfielder’s behaviour in the Manchester derby.
‘[Ten Hag] gave it [the captaincy] to Bruno because he’s their most consistent player by a long shot but yesterday [Ten Hag] played him out of position.
‘Play him as a No.10 and drop another player. I think his frustration came a lot from not having any influence on the game.’
Wright also suggested that while Fernandes’ will to press opponents and chase down seemingly lost causes may endear him to the fans, it was not the kind of approach bound to inspire players around him.
Wright blamed Antony’s petulant outburst on Sunday on Fernandes’ lack of leadership
The Brazilian winger was lucky to escape a red card after petulantly kicking Jeremy Doku (right) during United’s 3-0 defeat in the Manchester derby
‘He closes down on his own as well, that’s a signal to players who you’re playing with that he’s playing for the crowd,’ he explained.
‘When you see people just going on their own and you don’t see anyone else backing up, you kind of feel like he’s looking out for himself.’
Wright and Hargreaves aren’t alone in questioning Fernandes’ skipper credentials.
Speaking on the latest episode of Mail Sport’s It’s All Kicking Off! podcast with Ian Ladyman earlier this week, Chris Sutton insisted the Portuguese was not captain’s material, a point he first made in August.
‘You look at the great Manchester United captains of the past. [Roy] Keane, [Bryan] Robson, [Steve] Bruce, [Nemanja] Vidic and [Gary] Neville,’ he said.
‘They’re captains with a bit of clout, a bit of authority. [They are] somebody you want to follow out of the tunnel where you feel you’d run through a wall with him.
‘I never felt the same about Bruno Fernandes. I think he’s petulant.
‘He’s like the talented, spoiled kid down the park when things aren’t going, who then takes his ball home. That’s the way he seems to me.’
Speaking on Sky Sports on Sunday, former United captain Roy Keane singled out Fernandes saying the Portugal midfielder’s body language was the ‘opposite to what you want in a captain’.
Roy Keane said that Fernandes’ body language was the ‘opposite to what you want in a captain’
He added: ‘The first thing I would do is take the captaincy off him. I know it’s a big decision but Fernandes is not captain material.
‘He’s a talented player, but what I saw today, he’s whingeing, he’s moaning, he’s throwing his arms up in the air constantly.
‘It really isn’t acceptable. When you’re talking about where do they make changes – board level, managers – I’d start with that because the manager is capable of doing that.
‘Fernandes is a brilliant footballer but he’s the opposite to what you want in a captain.’
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