Rio Ferdinand says he no longer expects Man Utd to do “crazy sh*t” during matches with Erik ten Hag steering them in the right direction.
The Red Devils haven’t properly challenged for a Premier League title since Sir Alex Ferguson left in 2013 with Man Utd lifting just three pieces of silverware in those nine seasons.
Louis van Gaal managed to win the FA Cup before being sacked in 2016, while Jose Mourinho won a League Cup and Europa League double in 2017.
But new Man Utd boss Ten Hag has put the Red Devils on a steady course with performances improving this season, while the Dutchman has demonstrated his zero-tolerance policy over poor discipline.
That has seen Man Utd move level on points with third-placed Newcastle – who they have a game in hand on – and four points adrift of defending champions Man City.
United will face City in the Manchester derby on Saturday with Ten Hag able to put a statement down to the rest of the league if they beat their closest rivals at Old Trafford.
And Ferdinand insists he fancies Man Utd to beat City tomorrow, he told The Sun: “I’m going into this derby thinking, ‘We can give them a game’.
“You can see players gaining in confidence. For far too long we were going into games thinking, ‘Obviously, we are going to get beat here today but I don’t know how many’.
“Or we were going to the likes of Brentford and concede one and it could be three or four. When we have been feeling that as Man United fans, it is now nice going to games not feeling like that.
“I am now going to a game not looking through my fingers, expecting crazy sh*t going on. I am going there now with a bit of, ‘I fancy us today. I fancy us to beat them and dominate the ball’, because you can see something tactically that has been consistently coming out every week now.
“We have got to play at our best and hope that they drop a little bit off it to win the game — but that is better than how I’ve gone into games in recent seasons.”
Confidence was on the floor at the club at the end of the last campaign and Ferdinand has credited Ten Hag with turning things around at Old Trafford.
The Man Utd legend added: “There were some really good quotes from him after the game the other day about the team spirit and how the ambience at the place was not right.
“He would have seen that in half the results and in games and in training, that the mentality at the place was not right.
“These were a bunch of players that were quite low, they were shot to pieces. He has had to build not only footballers but men back up again because they have been through a lot of negativity.
“Obviously, part of that is their own fault and the regime before. But he had to build a lot of human beings back up and that takes time.
“The fact he is now talking about qualifying for the Champions League so positively, and putting markers down, he can sense a confidence coming back into this team.
“There is a consistency of performance from the team and individuals, that wasn’t there before, that he now believes and fills him with the confidence to speak about.
“There isn’t that panic there was before or the complete capitulation that we’ve been seeing for a while. There is a much more calm edge around the team.
“All the signs are very positive. I just feel like there is a jigsaw puzzle that needs putting together at this football club and there are some good pieces being put in place, whether it be the manager, coaching staff, the tactical element he is trying to implement, or recruitment.”
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