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Erik ten Hag reaffirms Bruno Fernandes as Man Utd captain in the absence of Harry Maguire

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has confirmed Bruno Fernandes will remain the club’s captain when Harry Maguire is not on the pitch.

His announcement comes after Fernandes was accused of downing tools during the club’s humiliating 7-0 defeat to Liverpool on Sunday.

Many onlookers and pundits accused the attacking midfielder of asking to be substituted. He also pushed the referee’s assistant in the 81st minute at Anfield.

Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville slammed Fernandes for his attitude, labelling him a disgrace.

Following reports that members of United’s squad were unhappy with Fernandes as captain, Ten Hag reiterated that the 28-year-old would keep the armband.

When reporters asked the Dutch coach whether Fernandes would continue as captain: “Yes, definitely,” he replied (via the club’s website).

“I think he is playing a brilliant season. He (occupies) a really important role. He is why we are in the position where we are because he is giving energy to the team.

“Bruno is not only running a lot and in the highest intensity, but also in the right way, in the right direction. He is pointing and coaching players.

“He is an inspiration for the whole team, but no one is perfect,” Ten Hag added.

“Everyone has his mistakes and everyone has to learn. I have to learn and he will learn as well because he is intelligent.

“So I am really happy to have Bruno in my team and I am really happy that Bruno Fernandes – if Harry is not on the pitch – is our captain.”

Fernandes is lucky he will not face retrospective action for the shove on the assistant referee. The incident followed an argument with Trent Alexander-Arnold.

He also received criticism for two instances of simulation. It is not the first time he has faced accusations of trying to deceive officials with theatrics.

In-form attacker Marcus Rashford joined in support of the player, calling him ‘fantastic’. The England international hailed him as a good leader, claiming his desire to win got the best of him.

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