Bruno Fernandes should be a Manchester United ‘spare part’, says the Mailbox

Man Utd midfielder Bruno Fernandes shakes his finger at Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Credit: Alamy
Man Utd midfielder Bruno Fernandes shakes his finger at Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Credit: Alamy

Our defence of Bruno Fernandes has been dismissed by fans of other clubs while we have lots on the big wins v small trophies debate.

Send your views on these and other subjects to


Why are you sticking up for Bruno?
For reasons I can’t really fathom F365 seem to have taken great exception at the criticism directed towards Bruno Fernandes for not only his performance against Liverpool but his general demeanour during the game.

The criticism aimed at Fernandes, imho, seems fair enough, if you are captain of Man Utd and you lose 7 nil against your biggest rivals you’re going to get called out, goes with the territory.

And a reminder this is the same guy who, after Portugal were knocked out of the World Cup by Morocco, accused the ref of being corrupt and being part of a plot to ensure Argentina won the world cup, (Bruno was upset that he wasn’t awarded a penalty for one of his trademark dives). As the old adage goes ‘if you dish it out……….’.


…I read the piece about the ‘Neville-led pile on’ for Fernandes, and I have to say something didn’t quite sit right with me. Felt like a bit of early revisionism.

The Konate incident for example, I mean, come on….the histrionics, it’s annoying and completely in character with what we’ve seen from him since he came to league. He is not a likeable footballing character, that’s just how it is. He doesn’t have to be of course, but you can’t expect people to treat each game without the context of what’s come before. He literally always does this.

Another one for me is the Bajcetic moment. It is most telling as it’s not really an attempt to win the ball is it? It’s an attempt to foul, followed by no attempt to catch up. Let’s be realistic here, it was so, so, so below what you expect of a professional footballer, let alone the captain of a premier league team.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m no fan of the kick ’em and show some effort brigade. But a grown up might have channelled their frustration into maybe timing a challenge correctly, organising his team mates or spent less time trying to get the ball back when it’s off the pitch (the emptiest of gestures) and trying to win it back actually on it? The choice needn’t be between petulance and outright violence.

I’ve always said he suits United and United suits him, I think Sunday encapsulated it almost perfectly. When the chips are down, your character comes out. Simple as that really. Did you see the Anfield road end on Sunday? Or Old Trafford at half time in the 5-0? Fernandes and United are a match made in heaven.
Marc Astick


…In the ever-excellent Mediawatch, F365 are always quick to call out eye-rolling clickbait from other institutions. After reading Ian Watson’s watery defence of Bruno Fernandes, I hope F365 aren’t too proud to include one of their own.

He says many United players were worse. He’s says he’s only getting the flack because he wears the armband. He deflects attention to 20 year old sins from Neville and Keane who had the audacity to be disappointed at Fernandes’ attitude. He says there was actually contact enough to warrant the dive after the Konate ‘incident’. He even brushes away the pushing of the official, at a time when people are crying out to the pro-game to set a good example, when amateur football in the UK is peppered with abuse against officials. He even goes as far to say ‘Even on his bad days, he can be relied upon to impact a game, and never does he shirk his responsibility.” Sorry, what? Would Sunday not be considered a ‘bad day’? What positive impact could you point to? Were his responsibilities as a captain, and a leader not left thoroughly shirked as he shrugged his shoulders and watched Bajcetic glide past after two unsuccessful attempts to kick him?

I wouldn’t mind as much, if I genuinely believed Ian believes what he’s writing. We all defend our favourites to the point of being biased, but I just get the impression that this defence is done less out of valour, and more out of a sneaky attempt to cash in on a topical player for clicks. And credit where credit is due, here I am writing about it – so, job well done.

Final thoughts? Talented as he might be, Bruno’s attitude is exactly the kind of spare part Ten Hag will have to drop if he wants his United transformation to take the next step. You can’t accept all the credit for ousting Ronaldo, only to allow Fernandes and his petulance to be the face of your team week to week.
Andy, Eire, THFC


Was it just a freak result?
It will be interesting how the next games play out. If Liverpool lose or revert to this season’s type in the next game, this definitely feeds into the suggestion that this was the biggest game of their season, and a chance to claim some glory. If United lose our next, that could set a wobble. Or both win and Liverpool turn a corner? Who knows.

It’s most surprising really, since United comfortably managed the top team in Spain while Liverpool were ripped apart by Madrid 9 points back. Barca a far better side than this Liverpool one, so what happened?

For me, the biggest question will have to be how quickly certain heads dropped. We were unlucky not to be ahead at halftime, before the sucker punch. Then they came out and most in the ground and watching on TV would have expected the typical second-half turn around and… instead they were caught off guard? Missed a tactical nuance? Switched off?

We know that Bruno can lose his marbles, we saw it innumerable times last year. Anyway, reading all these mails and comments I did see something amusing which was someone suggesting Maguire wouldn’t have dropped his head… sorry, what? He literally drops his head after conceding *every* time. We saw it a lot last year, and the beginning of this.

Anyway, it will be very interesting to see what Ten Hag does. He will doubtless have identified specifics and actions, and possible replacements. But I don’t think many on the red side of Manchester will have any serious concerns. It was a mad, freak result. It could easily have been so different, with Liverpool losing at home (as looked likely after the first half). Now we need to see them just get back on with it and have more to show at the end of this season than just the League Cup or one big win against a rival.


Ranking trophies v massive wins
I think I sort-of agree with Mike, LFC London. A once in a generation result against a stronger rival does have a memorability that perhaps a trophy you’ve won a few times in recent memory may not.

But does this only apply to the League Cup? Or is there a scale of scoreline to trophy importance? I reckon “yes”, and it’s probably this:

Charity Shield is of less value than a 4-0 win

League Cup (our control trophy as established by our subject) is of less value than a 7-0 win

UEFA Cup is of less value than a 12-0 win

The Premier League is of less value than an 18-0 win

Champions League is of less value than a 25-0 win

I name it the DickieTrophyRatio.

Interestingly, I don’t think this applies to international football. There is no level of scoreline I’d swap for a World or European Championships win.
Jeremy Aves


Can you have sour grapes after winning 7-0?
It takes a certain kind of insecurity to smash your biggest rivals by the sweetest of score lines and then feel you need to defend the significance of it. I get it, it would be really nice to absolutely destroy Liverpool in well, any game of football. I’m old enough to remember a United beating City 5-0 and we sang about that for years after. I was there when we shellacked Liverpool 4-0 at Old Trafford. And I also remember going home after the 1-4 hammering by Liverpool, distraught and with a parking ticket to make matters worse. And I remember being at League Cup finals and not being that fussed about the outcome. So yeah, totally, you’d rather annihilate your rivals than win the League Cup.

But what if – and this can go either way – United’s collective response to being humiliated in such a way is to never be humiliated in such a way again? I mean there’s a long way to go before we can say that but I’ve got an inkling that the long-term impacts of this one might well be positive for United. Much like when Fergie lost to City 5-0 and then created a dynasty.

Well maybe not, but you can worry about that. I just hope we aren’t shit now!

Also, I don’t think you need to worry about Bruno. You won, he embarrassed himself. Why exactly would you want him banned? And if he ‘assaulted’ the lino, not only could we claim the lino did worse to him (mistake from him there) but also we’d have to bang up half of Liverpool and Manchester City centres every Friday night for all the ‘assaults’ taking place.

It’s all a bit sour grapes this isn’t it? Are you sure you won the game?!

Anyway, I hope Liverpool show Madrid an equally good time this week.

READ: Man Utd’s most humiliating Premier League defeats include Liverpool, Balotelli and Keane evisceration


…I think the debate about whether winning a trophy or beating your rivals 7-0 is better needs context.

Remember United haven’t won a trophy in almost 7 years! (Yes ironic). So winning a trophy is more sweet then. (Of course if the League Cup isn’t a springboard to more then it will end up being fairly irrelevant given Utd’s overall history).

Versus Liverpool who have won a lot the last few years. The League Cup just wouldn’t matter as much.

If I went back to Fergie days when trophies were almost a dime a dozen, I 100% would have savoured beating Liverpool 7-0 more than winning the League Cup.

But those days are gone. So I would at this moment rather win the League Cup (and more) than beat Liverpool 7-0. Hopefully one day I will revert to wanting to beat Liverpool 7-0 more than a trophy because that would mean we are winning things regularly again.
Nishul Saperia (backing us to bounce back on Thursday)


…Congratulations on your “Walloping United 7-0, better-than-a-trophy Super-Duper-Uber Cup”! A resounding cup final triumph! I look forward to the open-top bus parade.

All sarcasm aside, that right there is precisely why we tend to view Liverpool fans as somewhat small-time. THAT is what Liverpool fans will come out with once all hopes of actual silverware for the season have gone up in smoke! You’re still in the Champion’s League though, at least technically speaking! (Though for what it’s worth, I think if your team can take some of what they produced in that second half into the Bernabeu, they just might stand half a chance of overturning the tie, and then, well, who knows what could happen?)

Picture if the tables were turned and United one day beat Liverpool 7-0 in the league. It would be wonderful and glorious and sweet and all. But I wouldn’t call it better than a trophy, or trade it for a trophy, not even one of the “little” ones, and I’ll tell you for why.

I want United to be the most decorated club in English football and only Liverpool are in the way. I want United to be way out in front and despite those decades of dominance under Fergie coinciding with Liverpool’s relatively fallow years, we only just squeaked past Liverpool’s mighty trophy haul in 2017 with Jose’s two “little” trophies. Of course since then Liverpool sadly got good again, won a few more pots, including a couple of the “big” ones (and with a little more luck, could’ve and would’ve won even more *shudder*).

But here we are and your team is only two cups ahead of United in the all-time honours list. I have Liverpool at 45 (19 league titles, 8 FA Cups, 9 League Cups and 9 European titles) ahead of United at 43 (20 league titles, 12 FA Cups, 6 League Cups and 5 European titles). Though if we’re counting one-off games like the Charity Shield, Intercontinental Cup or European Super Cup and gimmicky tournaments like the Club World Cup, United actually come out on top of the all-time silverware tally 67-65! So for argument’s sake, we don’t count those. We want to be on top and we’d pull level with Liverpool if – massive IF – we can win both the cups we’re still in this season! We’d match Liverpool’s 2001 Diet Treble! But I’d be made up with that. Having, y’know, already done The Real Treble an’ all.

Well, done and all on your team’s big win, I’m not taking anything away from that. Your lot were in irresistable mood and found that ruthless groove that’s thankfully been absent for most of this season. Just wish we hadn’t been the ones on the end of it (yet a-bloody-gain). But better than a trophy? Bit of a stretch. Bit small-time.
Lee (having said all that, would gladly trade a Charity Shield for a 7-0 win over Liverpool!)


The Ferguson effect lives on
An interesting perspective from Mike, LFC, London, and while I’m sure it’s not reflective of all Liverpool fans, it’s interesting to see that the Ferguson era is still having an effect many years on.

I’m a Manchester United fan, and having started watching them at the age of 11 in 1994, I’ve never really harboured any particular resentment towards Liverpool, or classed them as rivals. Arsenal, yes – Chelsea, yes – City, yes – but Liverpool have never, in the more than 25 years I’ve been watching football, been much of a force until the last three or four seasons. It’s like Leeds United – I’m aware that in theory I’m meant to dislike them, but it’s hard to bear much of a grudge against a team who have been so underwhelming for so long. If United beat Liverpool 7-0 I’d find it funny – of course – but it wouldn’t stick in the mind too long, to be frank. The goal has to be winning the league multiple times again, and three points won’t go far to achieving that.

Conversely, views such as Mike’s – that beating United 7-0 is better than winning a trophy – speaks volumes about the effect that the Ferguson years have had on Liverpool fans: that the grudge is still, ten years on, very real and very sore. Particularly given that Liverpool, despite winning the Champions League and league in recent years, haven’t actually won that many trophies – so one might think that fans of the club, with the team approaching the end of its current era, would want to maximise the trophy count while still possible.

Perhaps it’s emotional damage limitation, and Liverpool fans such as Mike have decided that after the Quadruple dream fell apart, successive Champions League final defeats, and repeated, often very late disappointment in the league, trophies aren’t all that. However I imagine if Liverpool embark on a series of success similar to Ferguson’s over the next 20 years, they’ll be able to shake the inferiority complex.
Dan (waiting for the backlash from Liverpool fans who think winning one game is better than a trophy – funny that), Worthing


Trophy Schmophy
I agree wholeheartedly with Mike, LFC, London. It’s not all about trophies……
Ross, Spurs fan, Norwich


Big wins > little trophies
Mike, LFC, London’s email in Tuesday’s mailbox struck a chord with me.

My ‘go-to’ game and most watched highlights reel was Liverpool’s (corner taken quickly…) 4-0 against Barca in the return leg of the CL semi-final. It sticks far more in the memory than winning the final against Spurs.

I won’t be watching last season’s League Cup or FA Cup finals against Chelsea again any time soon, nor will I particularly remember them in years to come. If you can get drama and a trophy in the same game (Liverpool vs Milan final, 2005) then that’s tough to beat, but while the players and the ‘Mourinho’s of this world’ might more understandably get off purely on silverware, some fans are happy to live for the moments.

So I’ll take that ‘cup final’ win over a tin-pot cup, and thanks for the observation.
Red Paul


Carrick love
I’m writing in to respond to Mark, LFCs mail. Describing Michael Carrick as “a guy who has never managed before but looks good in a suit” is thoroughly disrespectful.

He’s Man United’s statistically best manager ever (admittedly with only 3 games). He dropped Cristiano Ronaldo before it was cool. And most pertinently, he’s taken Middlesborough from 21st in the Championship to 3rd in 5 months!

Dismiss Carrick at your peril, he’s a rising star and might be tearing your team apart next season.
John, Dublin (just because David, Atlanta’s my brother doesn’t mean he’s not right about the Olé era)


The Arsenal celebration police exists
I genuinely thought Arsenal being investigated by the FA for over celebrating Saturday’s last gasp win was some kind of joke.

But no, it’s an actual thing – just what is about our club that gets up the noses of authorities and media alike?

Pre Wenger we were called boring. Following the original battle of Old Trafford we were docked two points to United’s one. Under late 1990s Wenger we were accused of having too many foreigners. Under noughties Wenger our stadium was called the Highbury library. We’ve had countless decisions go against us this season including the first goal against Bournemouth which should not have stood as their players were in our half before a ball was kicked. And now we’ve committed the cardinal sin of over celebrating a 98th minute winner?!

The reason Arsenal fans celebrate like that is partly because of the piss poor officiating.

But will the FA throw the book at Liverpool for their celebrations after their 7-0 win at the weekend? Will they balls.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London


Wout of order
Dear Pablo, MUFC, Dublin: what I actually said was “He (Weghorst) has now played 27 Premier league games and scored two goals.”

Twenty of these games were for Burnley (and both his goals) and seven for Man U.

I hope that clears things up for you.

Rather than hide behind statistics, my main point was he’s a lovely, hard working fella, but he’s absolutely shit.


Loving Lopetegui
Haven’t seen this talked about on your site but surely a contender for manager of the season(early days yet) came in to a rudderless team with zero confidence and we now have a team who can beat anyone on their day. Players look confident and happy and much more improved since Lage left (semedo wow what a turn around) the signings we have made have been fantastic so far (looking at you especially Lemina). Yes we still struggle to score goals and have had a few bad results but it highlights the difference between a good manager and a bad.

Roll on next season (still praying we do enough to stay up…. It’s tight down there)
Colin WWFC Dublin


Luck at it this way
Similar to Alanis Morissette misunderstanding the meaning of irony… M seems to be misunderstanding the meaning of “luck”.

Allison scoring a last minute goal is not luck, it’s persistence and poor defending on the opposition’s part.

Van Nistelrooy missing a penalty is not bad luck, it’s poor technique and lack of practice.

Aguero scoring in the last minute is not luck, its persistence, skill, and an ability to perform at the most pressurized moments in sport.

Gerrard slipping is not luck, it’s comedy, pure comedy gold.


Well done Chelsea
Normally don’t comment on other teams, but hats off to a surprisingly good Chelsea performance…would be nice to see you in the final.
Aidan, Lfc (genuine with the congrats, only joking about us not being fkd already)


…It may be simplistic to deduce that if that’s the level at the top of the German league then there is quite a distance in quality.

An OK Chelsea team scraped through by the minimum and showing us classic Sterling and Kai ( Laurel & Hardy) . Even trying their best not to score but getting a second bite at that cherry. Farcical in a way. Benfica or anyone else won’t be scared to draw Chelsea .

Even so , I’m dead pleased for Potter and all his backroom staff . The selection was good the coaching staff got the players into the right mood and mindset and despite themselves they did the minimum to get through, which like against Leeds is all that is currently needed .

It’s not Potter’s fault that he doesn’t have a killer flanked by two more . He has next to nothing up front . The shed has been bare since Costa left . Give the man an attacking trident worth their salt and see what magic he will weave . .
Peter .( like an Icelandic – Ivorian – Irish trident ) Andalucia

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