Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand has bemoaned the respective performances of Marcus Rashford and Antony for failing to support Rasmus Hojlund and playing to the Dane’s strengths.
Ferdinand’s claims come after Dutch legend Ruud Gullit also recently accused United players of ignoring Hojlund.
Since his arrival at Old Trafford in the summer from Atalanta, Hojlund has been a breath of fresh air for the club, during a period in which the Red Devils have struggled for form both domestically and in Europe.
The Dane has scored three goals, all of which have come in the Champions League. He is yet to start firing in the Premier League.
In multiple games, Hojlund has cut a very frustrated and lonely figure up front due to the extremely small number of clear-cut goalscoring opportunities created for him.
Speaking on his Vibe with Five YouTube channel, Ferdinand said, “I think we need to get to a place where we’re actually playing to our players’ strengths. You look at Hojlund, he wants the ball crossed. You saw the header he scored in the Champions League, you see the way he attacks crosses.”
“Get the ball wide and cross it! Antony keeps chopping back on his left foot, doesn’t cross it. Marcus doesn’t really cross from that [left] side. Get past your full-back, or get a yard, and put the ball in the box! And he’ll attack it.”
United are set to host Manchester City at Old Trafford on Sunday for the 191st Manchester derby.
Ferdinand admitted that his former side have little chance of beating Pep Guardiola’s men, who currently seem unstoppable.
The six-time Premier League winner explained, “I’m scared, man, I’m fearful, I’ve got to be honest with you. Your heart is telling you, “Maybe we can nick something and defend, defend, defend” but we’re miles off it if you look at it in terms of where City are and where we are.”
He added that United’s sole advantage against the reigning Premier League champions may come from the manner in which they won against FC Copenhagen on Tuesday when Harry Maguire and Andre Onana came up clutch to secure the win in dramatic style.
Ferdinand also spoke to TNT Sports (via The Mirror) and noted that City’s only weakness arises whenever Rodri is not available.
When the Spain international was suspended prior to the October international break, City lost all three games they played in.
Rodri will be available to play vs. United tomorrow.
Ferdinand remarked, “He’s [Rodri] the only indispensable player in the squad. You can talk about [Erling] Haaland but if he is out, [Julian] Alvarez comes in and scores. If Rodri doesn’t play they don’t look the same at the moment.”
The 44-year-old TV pundit opened up about Erik ten Hag and confessed that he is struggling to identify the Dutchman’s style of play.
Ferdinand however pointed out that Ten Hag has had a lot to deal with off the pitch, and that could explain why the United boss is struggling to implement his football philosophy at the club.
“Last season I looked at it and I could see something building and I was optimistic but we haven’t seen that consistency so far of performances, shape, passing patterns. The only thing I can say is he wants to press, not by seeing it but by listening to him. He wants them to be aggressive.”
Ferdinand further stated that no manager in England has had to come in and deal with some of the issues Ten Hag has had to handle, including the uncertain ownership situation, the Ronaldo affair and other player sagas.
The ex-England defender pointed out that not even Pep Guardiola himself has been forced to focus their time and energy on non-football-related matters to the extent that Ten Hag has.