Rio Ferdinand believes “immaturity” led to “boredom” among the Manchester United defenders in the draw with Galatasaray on Wednesday, as the Red Devils legend urged them to “enjoy being pegged back”.
United twice led by two goals as Alejandro Garnacho, Bruno Fernandes and Scott McTominay all got on the scoresheet but a couple of errors from Andre Onana gifted Hakim Ziyech a couple of goals from free-kicks, before a brilliant finish from Kerem Akturkoglu ensured the points were shared in the Champions League.
The result leaves United on the verge of elimination from the competition as they now need to beat Bayern Munich in the final group game and hope that Copenhagan draw with Galatasaray to qualify for the knockout stages.
Erik ten Hag’s side were fluent in attack but open at the back, and while Ferdinand believes they started the game well, as “boredom” crept in they allowed Galatasaray too much space to hurt them.
He said on TNT Sports: “In the first half I was asking them to be uncomfortable and enjoy sometimes being penned back on the edge of your box, bank of four and a bank of five and not allowing a big gap between the midfield and the defenders. They were doing that.
“But it’s about doing that consistently, doing that rep after rep after rep. And that’s where I think sometimes there’s maybe a little bit of immaturity, maybe boredom creeps in and one jumps out and then they go ‘Oh, we’re out of shape’, and they look very open at those times.”
Paul Scholes bemoaned their game management as they squandered a lead, once again, in a European outing, calling on experienced duo Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof to be calm heads amid the “absolute madness”.
“It’s back to game management. I feel like a broken record, I’ve been saying this for years now – it’s a lack of leadership,” he said. “You think of the experience they’ve got in the team, of [Victor] Lindelof who plays for Sweden, [Harry] Maguire playing for England for so long.
“The centre of the pitch was wide open. People just running through it all the time. With the pace they’ve got up front, they will always get counter-attacking chances. But make sure you’re solid. It was end-to-end, it was a game they didn’t need after being 2-0 up and 3-1 up. It was absolute madness.”