We discovered at Brazil 2014 that Rio Ferdinand was not only one of the best defenders that football has ever seen but also an insightful ad eloquent pundit on the game.
We certainly enjoyed hearing what he had to say and his views were refreshing and to the point.
In his latest public comments he has said that, while Fergie prioritised results, there was more ambition about Manchester United under the legendary Scot than with Louis van Gaal.
Rio said that, although Sir Alex’s tenure was remembered as an era of liquid football, it wasn’t always the case:
“When I was a player my main aim was to win a trophy first and win it playing exciting football second, and that seems to be Van Gaal’s too,”
“It wasn’t always exciting in my day at Old Trafford, either.
He went on to imply that the Manchester United squad may not have been quite as strong at the end of Fergie’s tenure:
“Certainly during the final three seasons under Sir Alex it was more a case of us getting over the line than anything cavalier.
But he maintains that, even then, it was a more attractive brand of play than we are currently witnessing:
“However, there was certainly a lot more ambition and threat in our play than there is currently with United.”
Manchester United players perhaps shouldn’t be blamed to severely for the current malaise. They actually look as if they are following Van Gaal’s orders.
But the result is a very tepid style of football. But Rio says that should have been expected:
“United knew what they were getting when they employed Louis van Gaal, so there can be no complaints now,”
“In many ways, why should there be, given where he has taken the club in 18 months? From seventh place to second and now, despite Wednesday’s goalless draw, they are within reach of the knockout stages of the Champions League.”
We think that LvG need to make tactic changes if he really wants to succeed at Manchester United – starting with an extra creative midfielder in the engine room.