Rio Ferdinand reacts to Manchester United semi-final defeat
Rio Ferdinand is backing Manchester United to bounce back from this latest semi-final defeat.
United lost 2-0 to Manchester City at Old Trafford after second half goals from John Stones and Fernandinho.
Former title winner Ferdinand praised City for their performance, while highlighting that the team still have plenty to play for.
Ferdinand also wondered what Sky pundit Roy Keane would have thought about City’s first goal, before adding his thoughts, criticising the defence for not clearing the ball.
Defenders Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof both hesitated, and City made United pay.
Keane told Sky that he viewed the goals conceded as ‘disappointing’ but did not hammer United for it, choosing instead to praise City’s performance.
He said: “Ole will be disappointed by the goals conceded. But overall, he can have no complaints. You have to hold your hands up and say ‘City deserved it.”
Solskjaer denies psychological block
This is United’s fourth semi-final defeat in the past 12 months. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was asked about this after the game.
The United boss said the problem was not a mental one. He told the club website: “We would have liked to have defended that first free-kick better. That is a poor goal to give away, I have to say. It is not one to analyse on telly here. It was very, very disappointing.
“No, it is not psychological. Sometimes, you meet good teams in semis and we just didn’t have enough. At the moment, they are probably the best team in England and we just didn’t have enough. When you lose a semi-final, when you lose against an opponent, you think they deserve it. But we are getting closer.
“This is a much better version of Man United compared to a year ago in those semis. That’s positive but it is not enough.”
Solskjaer is right, being better is not enough if it does not result in a win. Indeed last season United lost by a single goal over two legs against City, 3-2 on aggregate, so this was arguably a worse result.
United are in better place though, as shown by the Premier League table, where we sit above Pep Guardiola’s side and can go top of the division with a win over Burnley next week.
The defeat puts a pin in some of the enthusiasm and excitement of the start of the month which has drawn United level on points with Liverpool with a game in hand.
A convincing win over Watford at the weekend can bring some of the excitement back ahead of our Premier League campaign restarting next week.
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