RIO FERDINAND has sent a stern message to Manchester United’s attacking stars after Sunday’s thrashing to Liverpool.
United suffered a humiliating 5-0 defeat to the Reds at Old Trafford in a match that saw the hosts putting together an all-round awful performance.
Much has been said about the Red Devils’ display and the post-match analysis included Gary Neville claiming the likes of Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood and Paul Pogba can’t press.
But Ferdinand completely disagrees with his former United team-mate as he insists attacking players should always go back and help their team defend.
In fact, the footballer-turned-pundit urged manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to become more “ruthless” and discipline players who refuse to press.
Ferdinand said during the latest edition of Vibe with Five: “I saw Gary Neville say that Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood and Paul Pogba can’t press. I don’t agree with that, they can press. Any player can press if you’re told to.
“If Bernardo Silva, Kevin de Bruyne, [Raheem] Sterling, [Jack] Grealish, [Riyad] Mahrez… if they’re not pressing the manager will drag them off the pitch. The same with [Jurgen] Klopp at Liverpool. If [Sadio] Mane and [Mohamed] Salah aren’t pressing, do you think the manager will accept that? Get off the pitch.
“That’s how ruthless Ole has got to be. Sir Alex Ferguson was exactly the same. If Ryan Giggs didn’t get back and make tackles and interceptions the manager was on him at half-time, and he’s the most decorated and experienced player we had.
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“You can’t tell me that players can’t press. Some do it better than others. But trust me if the manager tells players to press they’ll get a response. I don’t buy the excuse that people can’t press.
“Things have got to change. At the training ground now, there must be arguments and training must be feisty. If it isn’t it’s because you haven’t got the right people in.
“At all the big clubs, if there’s problems, everyone is looking to themselves for answers. You’re getting into people, there’s an aggressiveness in training again because your pride is hurt. I’d want to see that response if I was the manager now.
“People calling for Ole to be sacked, that’s for the club to decide. I’m not into calling for managers to be sacked but what I do know is that Ole has come in and improved the club from where it was. He’s amassed a fantastic group of players and they need to be moulded into a team. That’s the job of the manager.
“I see Bruno [Fernandes] pressing on his own. I see Greenwood pressing on his own. I rarely see when they all go. When Liverpool press, they go in four or fives, they’re all in there and they all understand where they’re meant to be.
“This type of performance and result has been waiting for a long time. Villarreal it could’ve happened but we got away with it, Leicester, Newcastle even had chances.
“I’ve not watched United this season and thought ‘wow, we’ve totally dominated that team’ and that’s what the best teams do. They dominate when they have the ball and they suffocate when they don’t have possession.”
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