Football

Ferdinand: United lacked professionalism

Red Devils draw flak for lacklustre display in loss to Basel

Rio Ferdinand accused Manchester United of "lacking professionalism" after his former team slumped to a shock 1-0 loss to Basel in a Champions League Group A match yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Despite dominating the first half at St. Jakob-Park, United were abject after the break and were punished by an 89th-minute Michael Lang winner.

Said Ferdinand on BT Sport: "It's what you wouldn't really associate with a Jose Mourinho team - and that's lacking professionalism.

"I think second half they lacked that discipline. How many times, wave after wave of attack getting beyond the Manchester United midfield - it just wasn't good enough."

His fellow BT Sport pundit Steven Gerrard agreed that United had not displayed "a Jose Mourinho-type performance".

The former Liverpool captain added: "I thought Manchester United were very average if not poor in the second half. They got what they deserved."

Gerrard's former England teammate Frank Lampard has previously called United boss Mourinho the best manager he's played for, but the Chelsea legend admitted his former boss' defensive approach contributed to the result.

Said Lampard on BT Sport: "Mourinho shut up shop with 25 minutes to go but they still let Basel come onto them.

"That is not good enough from Manchester United."

Former Arsenal and England striker Ian Wright, however, believed Mourinho's approach was not to blame for the loss.

He said on the BBC: "One word sums United up for me tonight: Complacency...

"Mourinho started with (Anthony) Martial, (Romelu) Lukaku, (Jesse) Lingard - so I don't think it was negative football that lost the game for United - it was missed chances and a lack of intensity."

While the Portuguese insisted that his side should have been 5-0 up at half-time, Mourinho admitted his substitution of Paul Pogba in the 66th minute was a turning point.

He said: "Did Paul Pogba coming out have an impact in the team? I think it had, we were not such a good team after Paul had to come out, but he had to, he cannot go to levels of fatigue after 65 minutes."

Pogba took two shots and made 69 passes during his time on the pitch, recording a pass accuracy of 91 per cent.

Former Everton and England striker Tony Cottee agreed that the Frenchman's exit impacted the game.

He told Sky Sports: "It was possibly a mistake to take Pogba off, he was probably their best player. Mourinho made changes and brought on Marcus Rashford, Nemanja Matic and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but Pogba was the one in midfield who was making things happen.

"They did lose the midfield in the last 20 minutes."

Amid the pessimism about United's performance, former Red Devils skipper Roy Keane was surprisingly optimistic, saying that when his former team are at full strength, they can compete with all comers.

Said the Republic of Ireland assistant manager on ITV Sport: "The big plus for United is that their form has been that good in the Champions League that they gave themselves room to slip up tonight.

"When United have their strongest team out, they will compete with a lot of the teams in Europe. There are five or six players who played tonight who won't be in their strongest team...

"They'll be competing to win this title, without a doubt."

His fellow ITV pundit Glenn Hoddle, however, was more sceptical, saying: "You've got Atletico and Real Madrid, Juventus and Bayern Munich all potentially coming second in their group.

"I don't know whether United can live with any of them." - WIRE SERVICES

Football