Thursday 18 July 2019

Rio Ferdinand and Paul Scholes rip into Manchester United with Alexis Sanchez receiving pointed criticism

Manchester United's Alexis Sanchez looks dejected
Manchester United's Alexis Sanchez looks dejected
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Rio Ferdinand and Paul Scholes hit out at Alexis Sanchez's performance after Manchester United crashed out of the Champions League at the hands of Sevilla at Old Trafford.

United were left stunned as their Spanish rivals recorded a 2-1 win to seal a quarter-final place, as Jose Mourinho's conservative tactics that have been questioned time and again in recent months finally resulted in the worst defeat of his reign as United boss.

It inspired United greats Ferdinand and Scholes to question all aspects of United's performances, as they questioned manager Mourinho's team selection and tactics and his high-profile January transfer window signing.

"Sanchez looks like a shadow of his former self," declared BT Sport pundit Ferdinand. "When he was at Arsenal, he was a player everyone looked to for inspiration. Here he looks like a stranger. When you got to a new team, you don't lose your talent. Something isn't going for him.

"It wasn't just Sanchez. The whole eleven was shocking. The attitude just seemed off, lethargic. If you are a team at home, the onus on your is to attack and away the advantage from the opposing team and I thought the team started conservative.

"Whether they were put out there to play like that or just they felt that way, this team looked like a team that didn't have it in them to win this game. We were waiting to be taken off our feet and it just didn't happen."

Scholes questioned Mourinho's decision to start with Marouane Fellaini and also suggested the decision to move Marcus Rashford from the left attacking role he excelled in against Liverpool last weekend to the right side was a mistake.

"Rashford was frightening on that left side on Saturday, but he moved him to bring Sanchez into what he thinks is his best position," declared Scholes.

"He gave the ball away so often and his manager has to see that in the ten games he has played, he has not been good.

"He needs to choose his best front three and be brave enough to leave one out. At the moment, Sanchez is the one to leave out.

"United were very poor. They just couldn't get control of the game whatsoever.  There was no energy and they lost the game pretty easily."

Ferdinand rejected Mourinho's post match suggestion that his players 'tried to be aggressive from the start' as he suggested the United boss could not have believed that version of events after a woeful night for United.

"He can only be trying to protect his players when he said that," added Ferdinand. "I hope he said something different in the dressing room and put his foot where it hurts because that was an embarrassing performance at Old Trafford. They did nothing to lift this crowd, nothing to lift anyone at home. If you don't come with the right attitude, you get beat.

"You need cohesion and whatever you spend, you have to be brought together and that comes down to the manager."

Scholes joined Ferdinand in criticising Mourinho's comments, as he was bemused by his summation of the game as he stated: "It's difficult to describe how bad that was. Lethargic, bad attitude....he said in his interview he was happy with their attitude, but he has to be protecting his players.

"The players have let him down tonight by being so mediocre against a poor team. You are going for a place in the Champions League quarter-final and there was no desire, heavy legs. It was poor. You can accept an off night if the attitude is right, but it wasn't.

"You keep spending loads of money and yet we keep saying they are three or four players away. It's almost like they have too much money and throwing it away willy nilly."

Meanwhile, Liverpool star Mohamed Salah didn't waste any time in rubbing salt into United's Champions League wounds, as he suggested he is looking forward to Friday's draw that will not feature Jose Mourinho's side.

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