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10th Sep 2015

Rio Ferdinand perfectly breaks down the difference between Ferguson’s United and LVG’s side

Good point

Darragh Murphy

Fun fact – Rio Ferdinand scored the final Old Trafford goal of Alex Ferguson’s time at Manchester United.

The defender was a stalwart under Ferguson and knew the Scot’s footballing philosophy by heart, having spent 11 years under the legendary United boss.

But Ferdinand, who retired from the game in 2014 after a season with QPR, sees a serious change in the way that the Red Devils approach games nowadays compared to the style traditionally associated with Manchester United.

West Bromwich Albion v Manchester United - Premier League

Speaking at BT Sport’s Champions League launch, Ferdinand said: “You associate Man United with pace and power, explosive fantasy in the final third, but that’s not the way it is now.

“In terms of players, the personnel are completely different and the way they play.

“Man United fans [are] having to re-educate themselves on how you go in there and what you’re going to see. You’re not going to see what you saw for the last 25 years.

“It will be a completely different type of football, not football I enjoy watching as much and probably most Man United fans are like that. It’s methodical and really slow going side to side whereas before it was ‘bang, go’.

“He (Louis van Gaal) has got a clear idea of how he wants the team to play. It’s very methodical, getting the ball through the team not very quickly, keeping the ball from side to side and waiting for an opening and the time to come for a glaring opportunity to go forward.”

Manchester City v Manchester United - Premier League

While Ferdinand considers the difference in playing styles to be vast, the former centre-back reckons there is one similarity and that’s in the pressing approach to defending that United sides continue to exploit.

“The only thing that is similar is if they do win the ball high up, it seems like he wants them to go for the jugular straight away.

“I’ve seen that more in the Champions League – whether it’s because it was a shit opponent I’m not sure, but they haven’t been able to transform that form from the Champions League into the league yet. And I think that might be down to the style of football they play.”

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