Rio Ferdinand has slammed Manchester United players for failing to even work hard during their 3-1 defeat to West Ham United.
Jose Mourinho‘s men, playing in a back three, performed pathetically in the first half, inviting pressure from the hosts, lacking any zip anywhere on the pitch, and conceding twice before the break.
Marcus Rashford‘s introduction, which saw him score his first goal of the season, marginally improved the attacking display but Man United’s flabby underbelly was exposed by Marko Arnautovic’s goal moments after the youngster had given his side a route back into the game.
Speaking after the 3-1 defeat, Ferdinand opined that United players were not even giving their all on the pitch anymore.
“As a football player, part of your DNA is hard work, effort. Today I just didn’t see that, making it difficult for them. If you come to a place like West Ham you put them under pressure, you don’t give them time on the ball. I barely saw them pass two three asses in succession, that’s criminal. I don’t see enough players working hard to say to the manager, this is my place in the team to keep. They didn’t work hard, they didn’t grind.”
You would be daft to think that United players – who have in the past played well for this club, all of them – are deliberately playing below what their lungs and hearts can offer.
When your manager has cut a miserable figure since the summer and insists you play a formation which slows your play down and invites pressure – even more so than in recent weeks – it becomes literally impossible to avoid your head dropping.
This team is playing well below its potential. The players know that. Pogba, in demanding United attacked, was speaking for the entire squad. The extra percentile of desire and energy which you need to beat teams at this level is no longer there. And that, without doubt, stems from the manager.