Raging captain Bruno Fernandes’s standout shocker in United nightmare | Manchester United
DISUNITED WE FALL
As Liverpool’s players celebrated scoring their seventh goal without reply last night, an overenthused and possibly refreshed pitch-invader sprinted across the Anfield turf to join the gleeful throng, only to slip and take out Andy Robertson with an accidental two-footed lunge. With just two minutes of normal time remaining, it was closer than anyone in a Manchester United shirt had got to the Liverpool full-back at any point during the game. While United winger Antony has since been singled out for his almost heroic lack of enthusiasm when it came to keeping tabs on the Scotsman, there was plenty of blame to go round for Manchester United’s worst defeat since 1931.
While the team as a whole had a comical collective second-half nightmare in the face of a Liverpool onslaught reminiscent of a year ago when they were still good, Antony, Fred, Casemiro, Lisandro Martínez and Luke Shaw were all conspicuously awful, but the standout shocker was that of Bruno Fernandes. When he wasn’t busy losing the ball, United’s on-field captain was waving his arms like an orchestra conductor on amphetamines, raging at his own, the referee’s and everyone else’s ineptitude. In a show of petulance that would see most toddlers receive a lengthy ban from their local indoor soft play, the Portuguese midfielder also shoved a fourth official, threw himself to the ground feigning injury, took a dive in an effort to win a penalty and remonstrated with his own manager for not substituting him, all the better to leave him to endure a humiliation that was largely of his own making.
Today, presumably with United’s social media team having studied the infamous, widely derided “fan sentiment graphs”, the apologies duly started popping up on various Social Media Disgrace. “I wish we could play a game today to try and put things right,” wrote Marcus Rashford. “The result is the result, and we can’t see past that! We must not let it define our season. We have to trust the process and stick together.” David de Gea also piped up, announcing “I know these messages don’t sit well on such a day”, apparently oblivious to the fact that he or his people were posting one anyway. At the time of writing, Bruno had yet to comment.
For TV viewers in the UK, Manchester United’s capitulation was simply the precursor to an even more amusing main event, in which the Sky Sports presenter Kelly Cates expertly refereed a post-match bunfight featuring the insufferably smug punditry duo of Graeme Souness and Jamie Carragher lording it over Gary Neville and Roy Keane. “Look at you gloating like little children,” said Neville to the former Liverpool players, having unconvincingly denied saying off-air that Liverpool hadn’t been particularly impressive. “Liverpool, sharp off the tee at Anfield this afternoon,” said Cates as she closed the show. “They’ve beaten Manchester United by seven goals to nil, it’s a record for this fixture, Mo Salah is now Liverpool’s record Premier League goalscorer and they didn’t even play that well.” Boom!
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Unacceptable, embarrassing, to be honest. I think out there on the pitch I felt embarrassed for us players, for the fans that were there supporting us, that were watching at home, to watch that second half. I can only apologise for that and us as players have to own it … We showed no personality, no mentality and for a big team to come here we need to be better” – Luke Shaw joins in with the apologies after Manchester United’s biggest Anfield capitulation.
“David Sullivan, the largest shareholder in West Ham, was reported recently as saying ‘I believe in free enterprise, not government interference’ with respect to the appointment of a government regulator for football. That may be so, but the revelation that West Ham donated £9,000 in 2022 to ‘the worst government that I’ve seen in my lifetime’ according to Sullivan, along with the fact the Hammers rent the London Stadium at well below market value, indicates that he would appear to believe in interference in government” – John Weldon.
“With Brighton due to play Grimsby, was Eric Cantona something of a prophet concerning the FA Cup quarter-finals? ‘when [the] seagulls follow the trawler it is in the hope that [Harry the haddocks] are thrown in the sea’?” – Richard Dolan.
‘“In a perfect world, yesterday’s post-match press conference at Anfield would have led with Liverpool Legend (LL) Cool J (Jürgen) and his classic line: ‘Don’t call it a comeback, we’ve been here for years’” – Peter Oh.
“Scenes in the 97th minute weren’t just at the Emirates this past weekend. National League South strugglers Chippenham Town had a six-pointer at home against Concord Rangers and in the 75th minute – already trailing 1-0 – their captain was sent off (rightly so, by the way). In the 85th it was 2-0 to the visitors and a few disgruntled home fans trundled off home, thinking it was all over. But it wasn’t. Chippenham never gave up and, cheered on by the remaining hordes (circa 500), they roared forward and finally scored in 95th minute. Well done for trying; a consolation, we thought. But it wasn’t. In the 97th minute, another burst down the right, a tantalising cross for Craig Fasanmade to gleefully head home. This wasn’t the Arsenal, in front of 60,000 fans, but the joy and emotion was exactly the same. Mikel Arteta said it was ‘madness’. It was ‘madness’ at Chippenham too” – Mike Smith.
Send your letters to email@example.com. Today’s winner of our letter o’ the day, receiving a copy of Nooruddean Choudry’s Inshallah United: a story of faith and football, is … John Weldon. We’re giving away copies all week, so get typing.