Bruno Fernandes accused of getting booked on purpose to miss Liverpool clash

Richard Keys has accused Bruno Fernandes of getting booked on purpose in Manchester United’s heavy defeat to Bournemouth on Saturday afternoon. The Red Devils skipper was shown his fifth yellow card of the campaign with six minutes left on the clock, meaning that he will be suspended for next weekend’s match against Liverpool at Anfield.

Fernandes endured one of his worst performances in a United shirt in the same fixture last season, which ended in a 7-0 defeat for the Red Devils at the hands of their greatest rivals. Keys has suggested that he may have got himself booked on purpose against Bournemouth in the knowledge that he will be unavailable to face Liverpool due to accumulating five yellow cards.

“I think he knows that next week could be a bad day out for them,” said Keys in his role as a pundit on beIN Sports. “I think if we’re all agreed that he knew if we he got booked he would miss the game, then I can’t think of any other scenario whereby I could allow him the room to manoeuvre on that.

“Say: ‘Well, it was a heated moment’. It wasn’t, I think he knew he gets booked and I think he knows he misses the game and I think that for me sums him up. He’s not a captain, he’s not a leader. His position has been questioned by proper Manchester United captains, people like Roy Keane, all season.”

Keys’ fellow pundit Andy Gray was also sceptical that Fernandes might have deliberately got himself a yellow card, adding: “His memory of Anfield last season is not very good. He had a dreadful time at Anfield last season, dreadful time.

“If you ask me, did the captain of Manchester United, knowingly, with seven minutes left, get himself booked so he’d be unavailable for his team and his fans at Anfield next week? I hope not, I hope not. I would be horrified if a footballer did that.”

United will now be without their skipper for next weekend’s trip to Liverpool, who sit atop the Premier League table after beating Crystal Palace earlier on Saturday. It remains to be seen if the Red Devils will be able to claim their first victory at Anfield since 2016, with the absence of Fernandes making their task even harder than usual.

Michael Owen was another pundit to question whether Fernandes needed to get himself booked in the closing stages against Bournemouth, telling Premier League Productions: “I wonder how many yellow cards he’s had for dissent and waving his arms about.

“Possibly you don’t fancy going to Anfield. I wouldn’t at the moment. I’m not sure you’re thinking of the next game when you’re in the thick of playing. He should be responsible, he should be a good ambassador, a leader for the team. We all know referees are clamping down on that and he gets booked an awful lot for a player who hardly puts his foot in and tackles really he gets booked an awful lot.”


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