Rio Ferdinand questions Manchester United’s leadership on the pitch

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A convincing performance saw Manchester United beat Istanbul Basaksehir 4-1 at Old Trafford last night, but club legend Rio Ferdinand was left unhappy with the lack of leadership from the players.

The Red Devils were terrific in the first half against the Turkish champions, although that didn’t last very long — once Bruno Fernandes was substituted in the second half.

“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,” Ferdinand 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 (vs 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.”

When Gary Lineker intervened and asked if Fernandes or Harry Maguire were right for the job, Ferdinand responded: “I don’t think they are to be honest. 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.”

Ferdinand is spot on and we’ve said it for years that the team lacks leaders.

But I don’t totally agree with his assessment of Fernandes because the Portugal international is the closest we’ve had to a leader in quite a number of years.

Then again, maybe he’s right given how inconsistent we’ve been…

Sir Alex Ferguson had players who could lead the team on the pitch, like Roy Keane and Eric Cantona. It’s down to Solskjaer to find a quality player of that mould.