Rio Ferdinand insisted that Manchester United‘s season was effectively over in the immediate aftermath of their Champions League defeat at the hands of Atletico Madrid on Tuesday evening. Renan Lodi’s first-half strike from close range ultimately proved to be decisive for the visitors, who held firm after the interval to prevent the Red Devils from drawing level as the clock ticked down.
United struggled to gain a foothold in the encounter and failed to do enough to justify a place in the next round of Europe’s premier club competition after missing a number of chances to claw themselves back into contention. The hosts pushed for an elusive leveller as the second half progressed but were unable to break Atletico’s resistance, with Jan Oblak pulling off a string of fine saves to maintain his side’s narrow advantage until the final whistle.
The result effectively shattered United’s hopes of winning a major trophy before the start of next season after falling short on all other fronts over the course of the current campaign. Ferdinand wasted no time in writing off his former side after the match by insisting that even a top-four finish in the Premier League will not be able to paper over the cracks once all is said and done.
“That’s season over,” Ferdinand told BT Sport. “What is there really to achieve? [They’ll be] floundering behind Arsenal if they win their games in hand [in the Premier League]. Tonight was a reflection of what the season has been like.
“There were moments in the game where United looked good, but far too often it’s a Jekyll and Hyde performance.”
Ferdinand went on to insist that United’s latest defeat could hamper their efforts to land a new manager ahead of next season by suggesting that not many top coaches would view the job as an attractive proposition. “I think behind the scenes the club will be doing their work in trying to find the next person for that hot seat,” he added.
“It’s not easy. The managers you probably want are all in jobs. But that’s part of football, you’ve got to find the right person. I don’t agree [that United will be able to get any manager they want].
“Not at the moment, there’s so much work to be done. I understand what Man United means to us, the emblem, it means so much. But, if you’re looking to come here, it’s a great project to be a part of, but I think managers might look at others clubs because there’s less pressure, the spotlight isn’t on them as much.”
United are now set to remain without a trophy for at least another year to extend their prolonged barren spell that has been endured at Old Trafford since the club’s Europa League triumph back in 2017. They will be looking to bounce back from their latest disappointment with a much-needed victory over Leicester City in their next Premier League outing at the start of next month.
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