Man United had just beaten Istanbul Basaksehir with a convincing Champions League performance, but former Red Devils legend, Rio Ferdinand, preferred to throw a dampener on things.
The defender is clearly unhappy with a lack of leadership from Man United’s players, and reserved special attention for both Harry Maguire and Bruno Fernandes.
“It’s not just about Ole on the sidelines, or Mike Phelan or Michael Carrick talking on the sidelines, but sometimes you need a player,” he said on BT Sport, cited by the Daily Mirror.
“Bruno, who you don’t mind giving the ball away because he is the creative spark right, but he gave the ball away very cheaply probably about four times before half-time (in the match v West Brom).
“I am sitting there looking around the team thinking who is going to be onto him? Who is going to be telling him? I would have been screaming.”
Host, Gary Lineker, then asked if Maguire or Fernandes were right for the job.
“I don’t think they are to be honest,” Ferdinand continued.
“If you are being brutal, I don’t think any of them have shown any signs.
“Maybe Bruno – a new player coming in and taking responsibility in interviews, and on the pitch you can see he demands the ball and takes responsibility that way – but I don’t see anybody who is going to ruffle feathers or pull someone aside and say ‘listen, you have given possession away cheaply the last three times, sort yourself out’.”
Given how poorly United have performed in some games this year, perhaps Ferdinand has a point.
A captain of any club has to be an extension of the manager on the pitch. A player that commands authority and isn’t frightened to dish out a tongue-lashing or two to team-mates if it’s deserved.
However, perhaps a perceived lack of leadership off of the pitch is what has filtered down to the playing staff.
If there’s one thing about Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that’s noticeable, it’s that you rarely see him losing it on the sidelines or in press conferences.
Moulding a team into one in his image will surely mean that certain traits will follow.