Roy Keane and Gary Neville fiercely criticized Manchester United skipper Bruno Fernandes for his role in Sunday’s humiliating 7-0 Premier League defeat at Liverpool.
Former United captain Keane labeled the Portugal international’s body language “a disgrace” and Neville was equally dismayed with his lack of leadership on a bruising afternoon on Merseyside.
Speaking after the final whistle, Keane told Sky Sports: “Fernandes’ body language today was nothing short of a disgrace, for me.
“He’s a really talented boy, he’s your captain. He’s got so much talent, but his body language, waving his arms and not running back… You wouldn’t be happy with him in our dressing room, I’ll tell you.”
Former United right-back Neville too was scathing as he assessed the wreckage of a disastrous 90 minutes for the Carabao Cup winners.
He said: “There were signs in that second half and things that I saw in that second half which were a disgrace, and I’m going to start with Bruno Fernandes because, honestly, I’ve had enough of him throwing his arms around at his teammates, I’ve had enough of him not running back.
“He whinges at everybody. He got pushed in the chest and he goes down and holds his face. He’s got to put a captain’s performance in out there. That wasn’t a captain’s performance by a Manchester United player.”
United were more than in the game until Cody Gakpo opened the scoring, but then capitulated horribly as the Dutchman completed a double, as did Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah before substitute Roberto Firmino put the icing on the cake.
Referring to the experience of playing at Anfield as a United player, Neville said: “It can just swallow you alive, and that’s what just happened out there today to that Manchester United group of players.” They’ve been eaten alive in that second half.
“It never happened to us out there because I think we were aware of what could happen. You show respect, you’re not complacent, you’re not naive.
“To be fair, these players over the last few weeks have been called shrewd and streetwise and tenacious, resilient, all those things and rightly so. But in that second half today, they were unprofessional.”
You’re here to work, it’s a serious business. It’s big boy’s stuff
Former Manchester United skipper Roy Keane
Keane was unhappy to see some of the United players laughing and joking as they emerged for the second half.
He said: “You’re here to work, it’s a serious business. It’s big boy’s stuff. Forget this laughing and joking rubbish.”
The former Republic of Ireland international added: “Thank God, I’ve never been part of a team that’s been beaten by that much playing for Manchester United.”
“The players will be embarrassed, they’ll no doubt be ashamed of their performance. Particularly the second half when the going got tough, they just went missing.
“I always try to imagine if we ever got beaten in a game like this, six or seven-nil, you’d go into hiding. You would. As a player, you’d go into hiding, never go out for a few days. I think I’d go missing for a few months.”
Neville, however, backed manager Erik Ten Hag to turn things around quickly ahead of Thursday night’s Europa League clash with Real Betis.
He said: “I think Erik Ten Hag will deal with them very, very strongly in this next 24, 48 hours – he’s done that already this season a few times – and I’d hope that basically normal service will be resumed by the end of next week.
“But they’ve got to own that performance today and they’ve got to own that result because they’ve lost 7-0 at Anfield in a Manchester United shirt and that’s nowhere near good enough. It’s a disgrace.”
Former Liverpool midfielder and manager Graeme Souness, who engaged Neville in a frank and sometimes tetchy debate, was understandably delighted with the Reds’ display.
Souness said: “After the second or third goal, Manchester United were just second to everything after that, and the result doesn’t flatter Liverpool.
“They (United) just didn’t compete in the second half and Liverpool just ran right over them.”
Keane too acknowledged the quality of the Reds’ performance.
He said: “I’ll go in hard on Manchester United, of course I will, but I also have to say that Liverpool were absolutely amazing, I thought Liverpool were brilliant. Their energy levels, the quality of their play, their decision-making, their desire.
“Liverpool were back to their very, very best like they have been over the last few years.”