By Coral Barry
Rio Ferdinand has lamented the end of the Manchester United fairytale after the 2-0 defeat to Liverpool on Thursday night.
Liverpool completely outplayed United at Anfield and will go into the second leg of the Europa League last 16 tie at Old Trafford next Thursday with a clean sheet and a two-goal advantage.
Louis Van Gaal’s side were well beaten by a bright and relentless Liverpool team and the only disappointment for the hosts was that they did not completely kill off the tie such was their dominance.
“The fairytale has gone,” said Ferdinand speaking to BT Sport. “To see the lack of fight, urgency and cohesion in the team, there is going to have to be a massive improvement in the second leg because that was not good enough.”
United’s game was riddled with personal errors as Nathaniel Clyne was pulled down in the box by Memphis Depay in the first half to give Liverpool the opportunity to open the scoring from the spot-kick.
Then in the second period Michael Carrick’s miss kick went straight to Adam Lallana who then had all the time in the world to set up Roberto Firmino for a tap-in.
Van Gaal’s side had been going through a mini-revival before the start of this week after back-to-back victories against FC Midtjylland in the last round of the Europa League and Arsenal in the league.
However United have now suffered successive defeats after losing to West Brom on Sunday and Ferdinand admitted one of the teams on the pitch reminded him of the all-conquering Red Devils under Alex Ferguson, but it was not his former club.
“It didn’t seem like we had the fight, cohesion and the patterns of play were non-existent,” said Ferdinand.
“They were better than us in every department. They played like a United team of old intensity-wise.
“They over-ran us, they overpowered us form the word go.”
The second leg is at Old Trafford on next Thursday, but United’s attention turns to the FA Cup clash with West Ham on Sunday.
In other Manchester United news, Paul Scholes slammed the team’s performance and questioned whether Van Gaal is the man to lead the Red Devils.