Bruno Fernandes at least five games deserve a penalty and should not be captain Manchester UnitedAccording to charity Ref Support UK.

United’s 7-0 loss to Liverpool on Sunday included an incident with Harry Maguire on the bench and Fernandes, wearing the captain’s armband, trying to put his hand on the assistant referee’s back in the 81st minute.

Martin Cassidy, CEO of UK Ref Support, which is dedicated to the independent training, support and development of referees, told the PA news agency: “I think he should be looking at a penalty of at least five games.

“Contacting a match official is a serious offense and should be treated as such. I think that would definitely be appropriate. There has to be a strong message here that such behavior is completely unacceptable and I hope the Football Association clarifies that.

“I think the message the FA should deliver here is that they continue the good work they are currently doing to protect match officials with the body camera lawsuit.”

Cassidy added: “To me Fernandes is typical of what happens in the game, this is authorization behavior, you can do whatever you want.

“I think his position as captain cannot be defended by his behavior and I think if he thinks it’s okay for the captain of a glorious club like Manchester United to act like that, then the game is in a terrible state.”

The assistant appeared to put his hand on Fernandes’ arm just before the incident, and former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher admitted he had “mixed feelings” about what happened.

Gallagher told Sky Sports: “You don’t want a player to be harsh with the match official, but I would suggest that the assistant punch more than they actually do to Fernandes.

Contacting a match official is a serious offense and should be treated as such.

Reference Support UK Martin Cassidy

“I think the first time the referee does it, Fernandes almost says, ‘Get out of my way, I want to keep going.

“So even though I don’t condone it… and I think the referee (Andrew Madley) is in a tough spot because if he goes to the other side and makes a problem, Fernandes will probably say, ‘well, he got me. First’. It’s tough.”

Fernandes’ performance at Anfield was heavily criticized by former United players. Roy Keane And Gary Neville Sunday.

Former United captain Keane said on Sky Sports: “Fernandes’ body language was a disgrace. He’s very talented, but his body language, the way he wags his arms, and he doesn’t back away… You wouldn’t be happy with him in our locker room, let me tell you.”

Former United right-back Neville said: “I’m tired of him wrapping his arms around his teammates, I’m tired of him not running back.

“He’s whining to everyone. He’s pushed on his chest and he comes down and grabs his face. He’s got to put on a captain’s performance. This was not the captaincy performance of a Manchester United player.”