Rio Ferdinand labels Manchester United’s Europa League disappointment “a failure”

by Scott Eckersley

Former Manchester United star Rio Ferdinand has branded last night’s disappointing Europa League Final defeat to Villareal a “failure”.

In a tight and tense encounter, both sides struggled to create clear cut opportunities. However, Unai Emery’s unfancied Spaniards eventually pinched the tie on penalties, with an 11-10 victory.

Solskjaer’s United have developed an unwanted reputation for being nearly-men, having previously lost four semi-finals during his two and a half year tenure.

With United favourites to win the final, it was widely expected that the doubts about his ability to win silverware would be firmly and finally silenced. Instead those questions are now likely to grow ever-louder.

Moments after the Spanish side’s name had been etched onto the trophy, former United greats Ferdinand and Paul Scholes started the latest inquest.

Ferdinand was quick to dismiss his former side’s slow progress under Solskjaer, instead rueing the absence of a winning culture at the club.

“They’ve improved but this was an opportunity to form a winning culture at the football club. That was the acid test tonight and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his team failed.” he said.

Ferdinand’s BT Sport colleague Paul Scholes added his voice to the criticisms by questioning the demands being made on the manager.

“They weren’t good enough tonight,” Scholes said.

“The thing I worry about is, does it hurt them enough? It’s almost become an accepted thing.” He added, before demanding that expectations at the club should be raised.

“From Ole’s point of view, where are the demands on him?” He said, “I still don’t think those demands are quite there…where he HAS to win.”

Although both Scholes and Ferdinand acknowledged the lack of experienced figures – and depth – at Solskjaer’s disposal, Ferdinand himself dismissed suggestions that this alone was a good enough excuse for United’s latest dismal showing.

“It’s not all just about buying that (particular) player,” He said. “Sometimes it’s got to be the manager.”

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