By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens

Rio Ferdinand has revealed he is “astonished” by Louis van Gaal’s shock admission that Manchester United are not good enough to win the Champions League this season.

Speaking ahead of United’s clash at Wolfsburg on Tuesday, Van Gaal had claimed that his team are unlikely to go all the way even if they make it to the lucrative knock-out stages of Europe’s leading competition.

Former United defender Ferdinand believes that is a pessimistic assessment given the club’s prestige and tradition, and the resources available to the manager.

The Premier League giants have spent more than £250million on new players since the Dutchman arrived at Old Trafford in the summer of 2014, including the headline purchases of Angel di Maria, Anthony Martial, Memphis Depay and Bastian Schweinsteiger.

“When you spend £250million and come out and say that, it is quite astonishing, really,” Ferdinand told BT Sport Europe before the United match on Tuesday. “You should have a plan B, plan C and plan D.

“It doesn’t look like we have a real plan D. It’s just put Marouane Fellaini up there and pump long balls into him.”

Van Gaal believes United pale into comparison with Europe’s big guns, including the likes of Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Pessimistic view: Van Gaal doesn't believe United can win the Champions League this season

Pessimistic view: Van Gaal doesn’t believe United can win the Champions League this season

“I don’t think that we are able to win the Champions League now,” Van Gaal said at his media conference on Saturday. “Maybe next year when we strengthen our selection again.

“We have to go as far as possible but normally we are not good enough to win the Champions League. When we are there, we shall try to do everything. But you have to be realistic also.”