Manchester United “didn’t give themselves a chance” in their crunch Champions League encounter with RB Leipzig, according to club legend Rio Ferdinand.
A point would have been sufficient for United to qualify, but they fell 3-0 down. Although they rallied to get to 3-2 and nearly pinched an equaliser late on, defeat leaves Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side out of the competition.
Ferdinand offered a scathing assessment of the evening.
“They were outplayed. They were outclassed all over the park from the beginning of the game. To early goals took the fizz out of the team if there was any to be had. They ended up fighting at the end, but it wasn’t enough,” he told BT Sport.
“When you start the way they did, they went two goals down before they even took a breath. When that happens in a game of this importance, you’ve only got yourself to blame.
“You have to start right and get yourself into the game. They didn’t give themselves a chance because they weren’t at it from the beginning.”
The former centre-back also questioned Solskjaer’s decision to adopt a three-man defence against an opponent that did not play with an outright centre forward.
“When they played three at the back before, their other team’s strikers have played up against them. The way Leipzig set up, they were being asked questions and chasing shadows,” he said.
“Change from three at the back. He didn’t do it. He waited until half-time before he made a substitution. But it was 2-0 before he could make a substitution anyway.”
United will play in the Europa League in the post-Christmas period after finishing third in the group.
They competed in that competition last year and made the semi-finals before suffering a defeat to Sevilla.
Defeat will place renewed scrutiny on Solskjaer’s management, with the Red Devils set to face Manchester City at Old Trafford on Saturday.