Paul Scholes suggests Manchester United need a new leader despite thrilling win
Bruno Fernandes under the spotlight again despite improved United performance
Manchester United bounced back from their 7-0 hammering against Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday by beating Real Betis in the Europa League, but Old Trafford great Paul Scholes suggested questions still need to be asked of stand-in skipper Bruno Fernandes.
United showed their character as they bounced back from their annihilation at Anfield with a 4-1 win at home to Real Betis in the first leg of their last-16 tie.
The hosts made the ideal start as Marcus Rashford’s goal gave them an early lead, but it was cancelled out by Ayoze Perez’s leveller.
However, second-half goals from Antony, Fernandes and Wout Weghorst completed an emphatic win to put United in a strong position to reach the quarter-finals.
While Scholes praised United for responding positively to the defeat against Liverpool, his verdict on the leadership skills of Fernandes were less complimentary.
The Portugal international has taken on the captain’s armband since Harry Maguire lost his place in Erik ten Hag’s line-up, but Scholes is not convinced he has the right mentality to lead the team to success.
“Your captain has to be a calming influence, really. He has to be the leader,” said Scholes.
“I’d worry about him if Manchester United, in March [or] April time, are going for a league title, I don’t think him as your captain would be ideal.
“Going forward, the bigger games, bigger parts of the season, going for trophies and big Champions League finals and stuff, I think a captain who is less emotional might be better.”
Fernandes has been heavily criticised for his performance in the Liverpool game, with his refusal to chase back cited as an example of where United lost their way.
“You have to remember he’s being asked to play in positions that he's not comfortable with doing, and I think he's sacrificing himself for the team for that,” added Scholes.
“He was clearly frustrated with his team-mates. I think when he looks back, I don't think he’ll be proud of what happened on Sunday, throwing his arms up in the air, pushing the linesman.
“And I think he'll learn from that. Going forward, I think he’ll try to get rid of them little annoying things in his game.”
United manager Erik ten Hag praised his side’s performance, as he suggested he got the right response after the Liverpool hammering.
"I think we played a very good game in both halves. At half-time we should have been up 3-0 but we make one mistake it is 1-1,” said the United boss.
"We scored some good goals, we gave the fans something to support and they gave it back so we are very grateful.
"It was a great attitude, we were good on the ball, made good switches and runs in behind and created a lot of chances.
"It is always good to see how the team reacts after a set-back. This is not the first time this season we can reset and bounce back. This team has character, so big compliment to the team."
Exclusive | Pictured: Alleged abuser charged with trying to murder partner with crossbow
HOUSE BOUND | Family of Kinahan chief Ross Browning still living in luxury properties frozen by CAB
Shocking | Three gardaí to be charged over alleged attack on young boys at Dublin golf club
stout of order | Popular Dublin pub hits back at ‘Guinness influencer’ over online campaign
ULSTER VOLUNTEER FARCE | Loyalist terror group UVF preparing for future without a leader
racial abuse | Garda who called taxi driver ‘Paki’, ‘scum’ and ‘a black c**t’ ordered to pay €5k to charity
disqualified | Uninsured driver who called gardaí after she reversed into tree gets fine and ban
Heartbreaking | Teen boy who died after being hit by truck in Co Mayo named as Zach Quinn (14)
'reckless' | Crumlin man who blinded neighbour by throwing bowl during dispute jailed for three years
boy wonder | Evan Ferguson gives his verdict as teenager scores his first goal for Ireland