Rio Ferdinand believes Manchester United have a ‘superman’ in David de Gea but insisted it won’t be enough to win them the Champions League.
The Spaniard kept his side in their last 16 tie with Sevilla by producing a wondrous save in the first leg but watched on as his team crumbled at Old Trafford.
Man United play their first Champions League game since that awful night against Young Boys on Wednesday evening in Bern.
Speaking ahead of the game, Ferdinand was clearly doubtful of United’s ability to go far in the competition.
“They’ve got a superman in goal,” he said. “If he’s not in that goal, I don’t know what would have happened over the last three or four years.”
“But with the guys in front of him, there are inconsistencies in terms of personnel every week. You can’t build a defence on people that aren’t going to be reliable.
“You’ve got two wingers that are playing full back – they played left and right midfield when I was there [Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia] and they’ve done well to be fair to them. They’ve been the better defenders.
“But has Lindelof worked? No. Has Bailly worked? No. Smalling and Jones, they haven’t kicked on like the potential they showed when they first came through the door. So that ain’t going to change, is it?
“You’re not sitting here saying the world is going to be changed because it’s a new year and you’re asking for them to get better, to mix together and mould together as a unit. That’s not going to happen.”
Perhaps United’s biggest handicap going into this year’s Champions League isn’t that Valencia and Juventus are in their group, or even because of anything to do with personnel. Perhaps it is Mourinho, who publicly said last season in that famous 12 minute long ‘Football Heritage’ speech that getting knocked out at the last 16 stage was normal for United.
Before anything else, you have to believe in your ability to win the biggest club competition on earth. Mourinho clearly doesn’t.