Rio Ferdinand hits out at Manchester United’s lack of leaders after Copenhagen ‘capitulation’

The former defender says there is a lack of character in the team.

Rio Ferdinand hits out at Manchester United’s lack of leaders after Copenhagen ‘capitulation’
Man Utd defender Harry Maguire and Rio Ferdinand
The former defender says there is a lack of character in the team (Pictures: Getty / TNT)

Rio Ferdinand has criticised Manchester United for showing a lack of leadership and character in Wednesday night’s dramatic 4-3 defeat away to Copenhagen in the Champions League.

The Red Devils looked to be sailing towards a comfortable win in the Danish capital as Rasmus Hojlund returned to his old stomping ground to net twice in the first half-hour of the match.

But shortly before half-time Marcus Rashford was shown a red card in controversial fashion and Copenhagen netted two quick-fire goals in stoppage time.

United managed to retake the lead in the 69th minute, with Bruno Fernandes converting from the penalty spot, but Copenhagen rallied again as Lukas Lerager levelled from close range before teenager Roony Bardghji grabbed all three points at the death.

The result leaves United bottom of Group A and they now likely need to beat Galatasaray away and Bayern Munich at home to progress to the knockout stages.

Ferdinand, who was at the Emirates to watch Arsenal’s easy win over Sevilla, also had one eye on the United game and says he was stunned by how easily his old club folded under the pressure.

Asked about the result on TNT Sports, he said: ‘Back again into crisis mode, I think that’s the way it is, it’s a rollercoaster at Man United now.

‘I think there’s no consistency, I was watching that game and I was screaming, 2-0 up, Rasmus Hojlund, thinking, “Wow, found a hero”. And then all of a sudden the wheels just fall off, they capitulate.

FC Copenhagen beat Manchester United in the Champions League
Copenhagen came from behind twice to beat United (Picture: Getty)

‘That just signals to me a lack of character at the moment. There’s not enough characters in there to pull the team through when they’re in a situation where there’s a bit of adversity, or they’re under a bit of duress.

‘They haven’t got those leaders and characters to get them through – or they haven’t got enough leaders and characters to pull them through in those moments. And that’s what you need.

‘It doesn’t come down to ability in those situations. Away at Copenhagen, I’ve been there, we got beat 1-0 when I was there. But this is far too often we’re seeing this happen.’

Asked where the blame lies for that lack of responsibility and the inability to deal with adversity, Ferdinand replied: ‘I think it’s the job of the players, they have to find it themselves, look deep within themselves to get that to really come out.

‘Leaders encourage and cajole and bring the best out in team-mates. We need to see that.

‘But again I think it all stems from the manager. The manager is the guy that leads and steers the ship and it all comes from him.

‘And the buck does stop with him at the end of the day. The players have to take responsibility but the manager will have to too.’

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