“Pedestrian,” “not bad, but not good” and “you expect them to be better” — a handful of words and phrases routinely used by so many to describe Manchester United’s various performances over the last two-plus seasons.
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The key difference between your average fan — or journalist — lobbing such assessments at the Red Devils, and, say, the likes of Paul Scholes, Rio Ferdinand and Owen Hargreaves? Only 800-plus appearances for the Premier League giant and millions and millions of dollars earned.
So when the above trio went on UK television Wednesday evening and ripped Man United’s latest UEFA Champions League showing, a 1-1 away draw with CSKA Moscow, it carries a bit more weight, doesn’t it?
Scholes and Ferdinand, on United’s struggles — quotes from the Daily Mail:
Scholes: “You expect them to be more creative. You expect players to run with pace and penetration. There is a lack of creativity. You would think that with (Bastian) Schweinsteiger and (Ander) Herrera the quality should be there.”
Ferdinand: “I can’t imagine the frustration that Louis Van Gaal must be feeling, from going to the weekend against Everton to this, where the intensity doesn’t seem anywhere near the same.
“The exact word is pedestrian. I feel like a broken record. I have said it nearly every time I have watched Manchester United. When the ball gets wide, in the midfield and the forward areas, there are no options. It is just not Manchester United.”
Given that all three of the ex-United players quoted above are far enough removed from their United careers that they have very few direct ties to the current hierarchy at Old Trafford, we can safely expect honest and unfiltered opinions on the club’s current state of affairs.
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Nothing quoted above is an unfair criticism, nor do any of the three pull any punches. Since the day Sir Alex Ferguson left the bench at Old Trafford for the final time, United have lacked the creativity, the direction and the killer instinct to make them legitimate title contenders. Wayne Rooney, one of the few key holdovers from the Ferguson regime and United’s captain and supposed talisman, remains culprit no. 1 in this regard.