Ferdinand identifies ‘two big factors’ why Man Utd have faltered this season; gives CL verdict

Rio Ferdinand believes that Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United haven’t “been as fluid” this season and that they have the ability to change their team’s fortunes. Erik ten Hag oversaw the Red Devils’ worst start to a season since 1986 as they began the campaign in a terrible manner. However, pressure was relieved by back-to-back victories over Sheffield United and Brentford. Man Utd has the opportunity to turn things around when they play Copenhagen on Tuesday night after losing their first two games in the Champions League group stage to Bayern Munich and Galatasaray

Ferdinand thinks man united must win both their remaining home games to give themselves any chance of qualifying, he told 90min: “They have to, they’ve got to win the home games especially.

“Obviously they got off to a terrible start against Galatasaray and didn’t get the points they needed in that game but it’s a huge game now, the pressure mounts even bigger on this game against Kobenhavn because of the first [home] game and the loss.

They’ve got to perform. None of this ‘maybe rest a few players here and there because they’ve got a tough schedule’, they’ve got to go out and put the players on the pitch who are going to be able to perform and get the three points.”

Man Utd duo Fernandes and Rashford made 38 goal contributions between them in the Premier League alone last season but they have failed to fully hit their stride this year.

And Ferdinand has identified the pair’s form as a reason why Man Utd have yet to reach top gear this season, he added: “I think if you’d asked me at the end of last season, I’d have said yeah, we’re going in the right direction, I could see the style of football starting to take shape, the manager’s been having to do a lot off the pitch in terms of culture and the stuff he’s been really adamant to shift and change, that area needed work with other areas in the background.

“But the season’s started and for whatever reason – you could say injuries or lack of form or whatever it is – that kind of improvement we’d seen since Erik ten Hag came in has kind of faltered a little bit.

“I don’t know [if Ten Hag is trying to do anything differently]. There’s obviously some stuff that’s just not clicking at the moment. I think there were two big factors last season as to why Man Utd improved, and that was Marcus Rashford and Bruno.

Every time a result or moment was needed, one of those two came up with it, mostly the goals from Marcus. That hasn’t been as fluid yet, they haven’t been as impactful in terms of goal and assist output yet. But I’m hoping when that clicks, we’ll be able to do that.

“But you want the team not to be so heavily reliant on individuals, and that’s the problem.”

Man Utd legend Rio Ferdinand

On whether his expectations for this season have changed, Ferdinand continued: “Yeah, it’s obvious. I think every fan was quite optimistic before a ball was kicked. But since the season’s started, like I said for many reasons, the team hasn’t kicked on the way we wanted it to. There’s been a lot of injuries, a lot of noise off the pitch for the manager to have to deal with.

“So it’s been a difficult start, a difficult start to watch as a fan as well. But hopefully the last couple of result have instilled a bit of confidence, so hopefully the tables will turn a little bit.”

On what would represent a successful season for the club, Ferdinand said: “A trophy, Champions League football and being closer to the top teams.

“I think if you see that in terms of points but also in terms of the way you’re feeling about the team as well, not just ‘oh we’re close but we’re still miles off it’. You want to be closer with a real realistic thinking of next season we can challenge maybe, but it might be wishful thinking.”


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