Rio Ferdinand believes Manchester United have excessive expectations in the UEFA Champions League this season.
The Reds have won the competition on three occasions, in 1968, 1999 and 2008, and have a history of progressing to the latter stages.
Under Sir Alex Ferguson, they were unable to win it as regularly as clubs like Real Madrid and FC Barcelona have done, but often reached finals and semi-finals, while quarter-finals were very frequent.
However, Ferdinand says that Man United have to remember that they are no longer the tour de world-beating side they once were, and they should set their targets as more realistic during this building process.
“With Manchester United the pressure of being there is that the expectations are to be going into the later stages, definitely,” Ferdinand explained to BT Sport.
“But it’s not the Man Utd of 10 years ago where they were dominating and that was the given every single time we went into the Champions League they were minimum semi-finalists.
“So it’s different now and this is a process of building still, Man Utd aren’t where they want to be as a team yet and they’re building towards that so I don’t think anyone can sit there and say Man Utd should be semi-finalists or finalists because even in their own league they’ve not won it yet, they’re still building.”
While United want to have high ambitions, of course, Ferdinand is right. Mourinho’s side hardly challenged Manchester City for the Premier League title last season, finishing 19 points adrift. To expect them then to suddenly reach the semi-finals or final of European club football’s elite competition is probably overly ambitious.
Ferdinand did back his former-club to progress from Group H, though.
“I think they’ll qualify from that group,” he continued.
“I think Mourinho tactically knows how to play in the Champions League.”
United’s first game is on Wednesday night against Swiss side Young Boys, away from home.