Richard Keys accuses Bruno Fernandes of getting booked on purpose to avoid Liverpool game
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BeiN Sports presenter Richard Keys has accused Manchester United captain Bruno Fernandes of getting booked on purpose to avoid next week's clash against Liverpool.
In the final stages of United's humiliating 3-0 defeat to Bournemouth on Saturday, a frustrated Fernandes was shown a yellow card by referee Peter Bankes for dissent.
The needless booking with six minutes of normal time remaining was his fifth of the season, meaning he will be suspended for the club's visit to Anfield on December 17.
Fernandes, who was shown three yellow cards in United's opening five Premier League games, was also disciplined in their 3-0 defeat to Manchester City in October.
And his latest yellow will rule him out of a fixture that saw Erik ten Hag's side concede seven goals last season.
Shortly after Fernandes was booked for dissent on Saturday, beIN Sports presenters Andy Gray and Richard Keys discussed the incident in detail.
Gray, the former Aston Villa and Everton striker, was asked by Keys if he thought Fernandes got booked on purpose.
“His memory of Anfield last season is not very good," he said. "He had a dreadful time at Anfield last season, dreadful time.
“Now 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.”
Gray would then ask the same question to Keys, as seen below.
"He knows he's missing the game and that sums him up. He's not a leader, not a captain."@Richardajkeys thinks Bruno Fernandes knew full well of the ramifications of his booking today against Bournemouth meant he misses Anfield.#beINPL #MUFC #LFC pic.twitter.com/dkKG3clvOT— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS_EN) December 9, 2023
Here's how the conversation played out between Gray and Keys.
Gray: "Do you think Fernandes knew he was one booking away from suspension?"
Gray: "Do you think he thought 'I had a nightmare there last year, we're not playing well, Liverpool are playing well, if I get booked, I miss next week?'
Keys: "Yes. In that last ten minutes, United stopped playing. It could have been four or five. He, I think, knows that next week could be a bad day out for the football club.
"If we're all agreed that if he knew he got booked he would miss the game, then I can't think of any other scenario where I could allow him the room to manoeuvre on that and think 'it was a heated moment'. It wasn't.
Gray: "It wasn't a heated moment because they were losing 3-0 with five minutes to go."
Keys: "I think he knew he gets booked and I think he knew he misses the game. That for me sums him up. He's not a captain, he's not a leader. His position there has been question by proper Manchester United captains, people like Roy Keane, all season long."
Bruno Fernandes will miss Man United's visit to Anfield next week due to yellow card accumulation 😬— Football on TNT Sports (@footballontnt) December 9, 2023
After the full-time whistle on Saturday, a disappointed Bruno Fernandes said consistency was Manchester United's biggest problem.
"We lacked many things and that's why we don't get the result today," the Portuguese midfielder said in his post-match interview.
"Everything was lower than the levels in the game before and that's why when you play teams like Bournemouth, who are really aggressive and on the front foot, they press you, and you think it's going to be easy, you get these kind of results.
"Everything was underperforming. Creativity, movement and arriving with bodies into the box. Most of the time we arrived with one or two players, but in the last game we had more getting in the box to score a goal.
"Today, it was, as I said, underperforming. We just lack consistency and that's a big part of football. It's really important to be consistent every game and we're not being."