Roy Keane has ripped Manchester United star Bruno Fernandes apart over his defence of his big-game performances, telling him to focus on delivering when it matters and to ‘stop being a baby’.
The Portuguese playmaker has been sensational this season, though has only netted once in eight matches against ‘big six’ clubs – a penalty in a 6-1 defeat to Spurs.
Fernandes gave a passionate defence of his big-game record ahead of Sunday’s clash with Manchester City, hitting back at his critics, but Keane branded the interview ‘nonsense’ and heavily criticised the midfielder, even digging out his ‘lack of respect’ for teammates.
Asked what he made of Fernandes ‘coming out fighting’ in the interview, Sky Sports pundit Keane replied bluntly: ‘Fighting? It’s bizarre. A load of nonsense there, wasn’t it, talking about stats. Just get on with being a footballer. He says about ex-players and pundits, I don’t know why these players worry about pundits’ opinions. Just get on with it.
‘He’s done brilliant, nobody is saying he’s not done well. He’s done great the lad. But if he’s playing for Man United and he doesn’t perform in certain games, then obviously he’s going to be criticised.
‘And he’s on about the draws. I wouldn’t be too worried about some of the draws, you look at certain games, the Chelsea game, United did OK, could have done better. But there’s just too many draws. It’s the West Brom draw, it’s slipping up at home to Everton in the last minute – those are a couple of results that aren’t good for Man United if they want to win the league title.
‘Now he’s talking about wanting to win league titles, he’s never won one. So it’s difficult for him. I don’t think he’s won a league title in his career, not at senior level. So it’s all new to him.
‘And he’s right in a sense, when Man United do play badly he gets criticised, but other lads need to turn up as well, we can’t keep saying it’s all up to him. But he’s a big player for them and if he doesn’t perform in big games he’s going to be criticised obviously.
‘In the big games they’ve kept clean sheets. The players who play at the back, and they have the two sitting midfielders, their job is to make sure they don’t lose the game – so they’ve done that in some big games, they’ve kept clean sheets, that’s a big positive.
‘But for the attacking players, it’s your job to go and win the games, that’s your responsibility, that’s why they’re well paid. So don’t get that upset. I don’t know why they get upset with people giving an opinion on it.’
Keane continued: ‘We’ve seen him getting taken off in a few of the games and his body language has not been great. There’s nothing wrong with being taken off and shaking your head for 10 seconds, but if you’re walking off and one of your teammates is coming on and you’re throwing your arms up in the air that’s disrespectful to your teammate.
‘You’re on about a leader. If I was coming on and the player coming off was shaking his head, almost disrespecting me like “Oh, I’m coming off for you”, I’d have a word with him in the dressing room. And he’s done it a number of times.
‘So he’s on about maturity and defending his teammates, well show respect to your teammates! So when he does have a bad game, don’t be throwing his arms up in the air. The real top players make the other lads around them better, that’s part of his responsibility.
‘It’s all about what you do on the football pitch. I know players are under pressure to do interviews and respond to criticism, just get on with it. Don’t be such a baby and focus on the game and produce against a brilliant Manchester City team. End of story. And if he does well we praise him and if he doesn’t… then he better be ready.’