Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has been urged to strip Bruno Fernandes of the captaincy, with the Dutchman ‘on borrowed time’ at Old Trafford.
Man Utd picked up a much-needed win on Wednesday night, as two goals from Scott McTominay saw them beat Chelsea 2-1 at Old Trafford. That result leaves Man Utd in sixth, just three points behind fourth-placed rivals Manchester City.
While that does not seem too bad, the huge expectations at Man Utd mean Ten Hag remains under pressure. They have not been entirely convincing when they have won games this season, with the victory against Chelsea a major improvement.
The Red Devils could struggle to pick up a trophy this term as they sit bottom of their Champions League group with one game remaining and have also been knocked out of the League Cup in the fourth round by Newcastle United.
That leaves just the FA Cup, a competition in which Man Utd lost the final to City last season.
Whenever Man Utd struggle, one problem that gets brought up by pundits is whether Fernandes is the right man to lead the team. The Portuguese attacking midfielder was given the armband in the summer after Ten Hag stripped defender Harry Maguire of the role.
While Fernandes is often a source of inspiration for his team-mates thanks to what he can do on the ball, he can also be viewed as an ill-suited captain due to his constant moaning towards referees and the fact he goes down easily.
In his column for CaughtOffside, former Liverpool and Nottingham Forest striker Stan Collymore has sent Ten Hag a warning that his sacking is not too far away, with Fernandes being captain one of the main reasons.
Man Utd dressing room seriously lacking character – Collymore
‘It doesn’t take many players, it just takes key players to upset the apple cart in a dressing room,’ he wrote.
‘The other day Marcus Rashford mouthed “what am I doing here?” after being substituted and yet, in his first year, with his personality and character as it was then, he would have been way down the pecking order in terms of influence.
‘Let’s be perfectly honest… if Bruno Fernandes is your captain, the dressing room isn’t exactly going to be full of characters. It’s not going to be full of Roy Keane types if Bruno is your leader.
‘I don’t believe there’s a lot of personality in that Manchester United dressing room, so the leaders of that dressing room will be Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Bruno and Harry Maguire possibly.
‘Harry’s been a very good pro, but after his experience particularly early on in the season, if Rashford pipes up and goes “this is ridiculous, the man doesn’t know what he’s doing,” and two or three others like Bruno and Martial follow, the coup de grace would be Harry Maguire, a model pro, going “yeah you’re absolutely right, look at the way that he treated me earlier on in the season.”
‘I wouldn’t be surprised if those few names were the driving force of that dressing room and then added on to that you’ve got the likes of Jadon Sancho of course. Ten Hag is on borrowed time.’