Manchester United looked like “men against boys” in their Champions League defeat to Juventus, says Rio Ferdinand, while Paul Scholes has accused the Red Devils of accepting that they are not good enough to compete with the best.
Jose Mourinho’s side, following another chaotic build-up to a European encounter, took to the field on Tuesday hoping to put down a marker against a side being tipped to go all the way in continental competition this season.
They were, however, to barely lay a glove on their heavyweight opponents, with former Old Trafford favourite Cristiano Ronaldo left to savour a 1-0 victory for the Bianconeri secured courtesy of Paulo Dybala’s early strike.
Ferdinand believes United were nowhere near the level expected from a side of their stature, with Juve able to boss proceedings throughout without needing to raise their own game to the heights they would have expected to be pushed to.
The former defender told BT Sport: “If you were having to describe this game short and sharp then it’s men against boys, if I’m honest.
“Juventus were far superior all throughout, in every department of the game – from their shape, the way they applied themselves, the intensity, the quality on the ball.
“There was a huge difference between the two sides in terms of quality on the ball, the calmness in possession, the understanding of the game management. They were well deserved winners.”
Scholes echoed those sentiments, with a man who won just about every major honour during his distinguished career with United left disappointed with the mindset which has crept into Mourinho’s ranks during a testing period for all concerned.
He added: “They [Juventus] looked like a team who have been playing together for some time.
“They have brought some new players into it, but they were a class above technically, tactically. They were a step above Man United.
“The sad thing is there feels like there is a bit of an acceptance to it, not just from United and the players but from the fans also.
“It seems like where they are at the minute, there doesn’t seem to be an improvement in performance over what is his [Mourinho’s] third year now.
“You see Juventus, they look like a team who can go on and win the Champions League. United are going to have to improve massively to get anywhere near.”
Defeat to Juve has left United sat second in Group H, five points behind the Bianconeri and two ahead of Valencia.
Their next European outing is set to see them travel to Turin for a return date with the Serie A champions, but prior to that they have two important Premier League meetings with Everton and Bournemouth to take in as they endeavour to lift themselves out of 10th spot in the English top-flight standings.