Rio Ferdinand has given a withering verdict on the state of Manchester United after their 4-0 humbling by Liverpool at Anfield on Tuesday night.
Ralf Rangnick’s side were mercilessly ripped apart by their great rivals, a result which Ferdinand said underlines an ‘unheralded’ fall from grace that ‘has never been seen before’.
He claimed incoming new manager Erik ten Hag will need to be ‘Einstein’ to turn things around quickly at Old Trafford and lamented how many players are pushing to leave the Red Devils.
Rio Ferdinand has given a scathing verdict on Manchester United after their Liverpool defeat
Ferdinand said that United’s fall from grace is unheralded after the 4-0 Anfield loss
Speaking on his Vibe with Five YouTube channel, Ferdinand said: ‘All jokes aside, how have Man United fallen off like this? The fall from grace is unheralded, never been see before at this rate. It’s alarming, but we’ve seen it coming. I said after Everton that they could get pumped 4-0 or 5-0. I keep hearing people going “yeah but it’s Man United!” – that Man United ain’t here now. There’s a big, big rebuild that needs to happen.
He continued: ‘I think there are 15 or so players getting ready to pack their bags and leave United. When was that ever happening before?
‘You might get a superstar like Ronaldo or Ruud van Nistelrooy leave and go on to another dream after conquering the league in England. Even me, I turned down massive contracts abroad because I wanted to stay at Man United – it was the place you wanted to be, the badge meant something.
‘It doesn’t seem like anyone wants to be there, everyone is looking for a way out. You sit there and think “what is it?”. A new manager is coming in and he’s got to be Einstein to change the fortunes of this club.’
Ferdinand labelled United’s display in the 1-0 defeat by Everton on April 9 as ‘s***’ and said players had no fear of being seen ‘on the town’ at the wrong time.
Four days after United lost at Everton, a number of the United squad were seen out celebrating Eric Bailly’s 28th birthday at a restaurant.
United’s players were seen out together in the days after their 1-0 defeat against Everton
Ferdinand bemoaned how ’15 players’ could be looking to leave United in the summer
Ferdinand also questioned how the United players are being advised outside of the club
‘It kills me to sit here and have to talk like this,’ Ferdinand said. ‘I’m sure they’re hurting but I don’t see the reaction enough. I saw a s*** performance against Everton and not seen a reaction since. They’re having to fight for a 3-2 win over Norwich at Old Trafford, saved by a 37-year-old, Ronaldo, who they say is the problem. If he weren’t there bloody hell can you imagine where we’d be? We’d be struggling to get in the top 10.
‘There needs to be fear, man. There needs to be ‘oof if I step out of line, if I go to a nightclub on the wrong day I’m gonna get butchered’ – not only by one of the senior players but also by one of the coaches, because they have got their ear to the ground and people will tell them.
‘That’s how it needs to be run – you go out in town at the wrong time, you need to be checked. I don’t know if that’s happening right now. Players aren’t even thinking if its the right time to be doing this on social media, or with a commercial partner.
‘They aren’t having those moments where they think “should I, shouldn’t I?”, they think “nobody can touch me”. Top football teams with the right culture don’t work like that. Players can manage themselves because of the fear of disappointing the person at the top. I don’t see team spirit – something happens in the game that goes against the tactics they set up with and they fold like a pack of cards.’
Ferdinand also said that this current United team are worse than any Liverpool side he faced as a player during their 30-year wait before winning the league.
‘It makes me think when I used to play Liverpool and they were at their worst. They were struggling to compete for the Premier League on a consistent basis and people were like “their fall from grace has been a great demise”. This Man United team is worse than the worst Liverpool teams I played against.
‘We used to go to Anfield and Fergie used to sit there and go “right lads you’ll never get a better opportunity to batter them at Anfield. This is the worst Liverpool team I’ve put a team up against”. And you know what, they were never easy games. Always tough games.
‘The teams then didn’t have as much quality in terms of profile of players Man United had now. They didn’t lack heart, didn’t lack desire. You went a goal down and they made you fight. They made us work for it, didn’t have the quality we had but they tried to match us for work rate and effort and graft. The ball is at the either end and Torres is stamping on your foot, having to get stitches at half time cos your foot is pouring with blood.’
Ferdinand said this United team is worse than the struggling Liverpool sides he played against
Gary Neville believes players have had too much influence at United in recent years
Paul Scholes says United are better off finishing eighth so Erik ten Hag can properly rebuild
It doesn’t get any easier for United, with a match against Arsenal in Saturday’s early Premier League kick-off followed by a game against Chelsea on Thursday. They sit sixth in the Premier League table and three points off Tottenham in fourth, but Spurs have played one less game.
Another United legend, Paul Scholes, took to social media saying it would be best for United to finish eighth, outside of the European players, to give Ten Hag the space he needs to properly rebuild the squad.
‘Finish 8th and give this man the time he needs… saddened by what’s happening, unrecognisable football club,’ Scholes wrote on his Instagram.
Gary Neville, meanwhile, said United are ‘fundamentally broken on and off the pitch’ in his analysis on Sky Sports.
‘Coming to the recruitment side, what they’ve done over last 10 years. What United have done is bring players in with piano introductions like Sanchez or Pogba. They’ve elevated the player above the manager at the football club. You go to Liverpool, Chelsea, Man City the manager is the primary figure at the football club,’ he reflected post-match.
‘They’ve undermined managers over the last 10 years at Man United by elevating the players to this god-like status and the players haven’t performed. The players could do better, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could’ve done better, Rangnick maybe could have done better.
‘Fundamentally the club is broken on and off the pitch. The stadium is falling apart, the training ground is falling back to second rate compared to other grounds. The owners are taking £25m out a year when the club need investment.’