Gary Neville described the attitude of Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes as “devastating” to the Manchester United cause as he attacked the “whingebags” in the Red Devils’ ranks.
Former United captain Neville was smarting about the performance from Ralf Rangnick’s team in the 1-1 draw at Newcastle United, where it took a second-half equaliser from Edinson Cavani to salvage a point.
Analysing the game for Sky Sports, Neville first took aim at half-time and saw little evidence of significant improvement after the break, describing the central defensive partnership of Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane as “absolutely atrocious”.
“They’re whingeing at each other. They’re a bunch of whingebags,” said Neville as he assessed United at the break. “I’m not going to go into the names, but honestly, they’re whingeing at each other, their arms are up in the air, they’re complaining about everything.
“They got the last manager the sack and Ralf Rangnick’s not going to get the sack – he’s only had two or three weeks with them – but they’ll get a lot of managers the sack, that lot, if they carry on like that, because that is a really, really poor performance.”
Neville stepped up his criticism after the full-time whistle. When asked if he was particularly concerned by whingeing from Ronaldo and Fernandes, Neville said: “Yeah, it’s annoyed me for about two months.
“Your best players in your team, it’s devastating when those players are giving that look and body language towards the other ones. They have to help them and be the father and the grandparent in the team.
“I made massive mistakes as a young player at Manchester United but had good senior players who would have a go at me, but they would also put their arm around me and help me and I don’t get the feeling that’s happening.
“I think there’s something wrong in there. Bruno’s whingeing all the time.You’ve got to be there when your team-mates need you in the most difficult moments.”
Neville turned his focus to Ronaldo, who had a poor game at Newcastle and was witnessed dashing down the tunnel at full-time, without going over to thank travelling United supporters.
The Portuguese could easily have been sent off for a wild challenge on Ryan Fraser in the second half, as his frustration began to show.
Ronaldo and Neville are former United team-mates, and Neville said: “I love that lad, he’s the best player I’ve ever seen in my life almost, but don’t run off at the end of the game. I’m not having that.”
Neville added: “They’re all at each other. They’re not helping each other. The spirit of a dressing room is really important. I don’t think they’re all with each other at this moment in time. I think there’s a bit of a leadership struggle going on.”
For Newcastle’s seventh-minute opening goal, Varane was dispossessed by Sean Longstaff before Maguire was skilfully sidestepped by scorer Allan Saint-Maximin.
“The two centre-backs for Manchester United tonight were absolutely atrocious, from the very first minute to the last. They were nervous, they looked like they weren’t sure,” Neville said. “Maguire’s having a nightmare season.”
It was chiefly Cavani who gave Neville any encouragement, with the veteran Uruguayan striker making his presence felt in Newcastle’s penalty area, unlike so many team-mates.
“I always feel better when he’s in the team,” said Neville. “He looks like the badge doesn’t sit too heavily on him.
“I don’t think he wilts in the presence of Ronaldo or Fernandes. I think he stands up to them. I think he helps the other younger players on the pitch and I think he needs to be on the pitch because they need to get rid of that whingeing attitude.”
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