Rio Ferdinand feels the ‘comfortable’ situation at Manchester United has led to the current malaise and poor run of form at the club.
United’s top-four hopes took a huge dent on Sunday as they lost 4-1 to rivals Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium. They now sit fifth in the top-flight table – one point behind Arsenal but having played three more games than the in-form Gunners. It was not just the result but the manner of the display that had pundits seething after the contest.
Ex-United stars waded into the debate. Roy Keane did not spare the rod, suggesting a few players should not play for the club again.
And Gary Neville was left astounded by the Red Devils lack of fight. Ferdinand has now had his say.
And the former United and England defender believes the lack of combative characters around the club is behind their slump.
“I feel from the outside looking in, they all just want to be mates,” he said on his Vibe With Five YouTube channel.
“No one wants to put someone’s nose out of joint. It’s like they’re all in an office job in the city. They’re all being nice and they don’t really like each other but they won’t tell each other.”
And the 43-year-old explained what the players must do to alter the situation.
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“To win, you’ve got to be pulling people about telling them you’re rubbish, sort yourself out,” he added. “You don’t have to be that aggressive either. It can be a simple conversation. Please tell me they are (doing that).”
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United have won just two of their past six Premier League matches. There have been questions over whether bringing Cristiano Ronaldo back to Old Trafford was a good idea.
Ferdinand feels it is a collective change that is required above any individual. And he is adamant that the players need a fresh mindset.
“I don’t see a response. Their body language is awful, walking about slumped, like the world’s against them, looking unhappy,” he continued.
“You’re playing for Man United man, in a derby, do you know how much those fans in that stadium would give to be on that pitch and you’re walking around like ‘I could be doing better things than this on a Sunday’.”
The Londoner knows where the blame lies and has asked the players to take a long hard look at themselves to decide if they are at the right club.
“We’ve seen too many managers come and go, it’s not about the manager,” he said. “If you’re not here to play football, take criticism and improve yourselves every day. If you’re not willing to work hard every day, come out of the club.”