Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand believes Cristiano Ronaldo will stay the membership’s key man forward of Tuesday’s Champions League match with Atletico Madrid – and has insisted that the Portuguese ahead “own the competition”.
37-year-old Ronaldo is the very best objective scorer in Champions League historical past and has on plenty of events already this season saved United from tough conditions – primarily dragged them by the group stage and into the final sixteen with late targets.
His hat-trick in opposition to Tottenham within the Premier League on Saturday was one other instance of his skill – even whereas the targets had dried for him in earlier matches.
United have struggled for performances for many of the season, with or with out Ronaldo, however will face Atletico at Old Trafford with Ronaldo himself set to begin after this weekend’s efficiency.
BT Sport knowledgeable Ferdinand, who spoke solely to 90 minutes earlier than the match with Atletico – which is broadcast continue to exist BT Sport 2 – pointed to Ronaldo and one other arrival final summer season, Jadon Sancho, as two gamers who will likely be essential to United’s progress.
“Jadon Sancho, in terms of form, is in the best shape he has been in a Man Utd shirt, and I think there is a lot more to come from him,” stated Ferdinand. “He’s had the adaptation period and I think we’re seeing the benefits of it now. He’s also more alert. He’s one of those in recent matches you’ve watched for that spark, that bit of quality.
“But you may not go right into a Champions League match like Man Utd the best way they’re, in the shape they’re in, with out Cristiano Ronaldo and what his competitors means to him.
? “It’s his competition …”? ?
Capture the second stage on @btsportfootball | #BTSport pic.twitter.com/WMFe39KoAX
– 90 min (@ 90min_Football) 14 March 2022
“Without him, they are not in this match. They are not playing this match – they are already packed and in the Europa League. He has been the most crucial player in the Man Utd team in this competition.
“There are some gamers who after they go to get right into a sure competitors, whether or not it is the FA Cup for sure individuals or no matter [it is]The Champions League is Cristiano Ronaldo – probably the most essential participant who has ever performed within the Champions League.
“He owns this contest, and the numbers tell you so.”
In order for United to personal the competitors, they have to elevate their efficiency ranges after a (at greatest) cool season thus far. United managed a 1-1 draw within the reverse match in Madrid, however Ferdinand believes that power ranges should enhance in what will likely be a tough assembly.
“They have to match them – in terms of energy and work ethic,” Ferdinand added.
“They have to be tight, and a close unit at the back. They have to communicate, and then they have to be clinical and determined when they get the chances – because they will create chances. We looked at Manchester City recently, as badly as they played. and as bad as the result was, they still created chances in that match.
“We know they’ve gamers who can do it, however they must be a cohesive group, a cohesive unit that performs collectively, and never play in moments.”
United are struggling to qualify for next season’s Champions League despite Saturday’s win over Spurs, but saw domestic rivals Chelsea fight for form in the middle of last season before a change of manager led them to the title of “Champions League winner”.
Although it is quite difficult to suggest that it could happen to United, Ferdinand acknowledged that there is an example to follow.
“It should be the plan for the remaining of the season, proper? Chelsea had been ready the place a brand new coach is available in, the group modifications and their fortunes are utterly circled – and that should be an inspiration for this group. No one gave Chelsea a probability in hell to win the Champions League, they usually went on to win it in fashion.
“Can Man Utd do this? We’ll must wait and see.
“They must enhance their efficiency. They have to begin being constant in the course of the 90 minutes, I feel that has been the largest downside.
“You look at the law as [Ralf Rangnick] have played against, it has been quite favorable in terms of their level of opponents – teams that you expect them to win against. But the performance I think has been the biggest disappointment for everyone, which is why there is a bit of a negative atmosphere around a club.
“The performances have been very Jekyll and Hyde. For 40 minutes, half an hour of a match, you truly assume this seems like one thing very optimistic, [they’re] very assured, have a look at them … after which rapidly it simply blows up of their faces and it capitulates when it comes to efficiency. So that is the place they’re in the meanwhile.
“It’s probably one of the most frustrating things. Forget if Ralf Rangnick thinks the” x “player is good enough, or he’s not, or he’s not the right character, or he is – the team’s performance has not had any level of consistency throughout.
Had a chat with @ rioferdy5 about United vs Atletico in #UCL tomorrow on @btsportfootball.
Identified # CR7? as a key player before the match – and this was before he hit the hat trick against Spurs? pic.twitter.com/qfiIYOfkWG
– Scott Saunders (@_scottsaunders) March 14, 2022
“I feel it is an excellent alternative [to salvage a disappointing season]. You get a attract Europe away and you’re taking a group again to Old Trafford, you might be mighty assured. You sit there rubbing your fingers and saying “yes, this is us”.
“But it’s very different at the moment. There’s probably a bit of anxiety creeping in with the fans and players who are thinking” will we get by right here? we should not solely certain, we have no idea what sort of efficiency we’ll put out … ‘as a result of that’s what the previous few months have proven us. No one is aware of what Man Utd will get out of the traps at Old Trafford.
“But it’s an opportunity to change the season’s fortune. It’s an opportunity to change confidence levels, it’s an opportunity to start some kind of momentum, if they can, and that’s what you need at this stage of the season. You need a games, you need an achievement, a mediocre, happy win will not be enough to change this team’s confidence.
“You want every part to beat – you would like the outcome and you would like an achievement to again it up to begin saying ‘really, guys, possibly there’s one thing for us at the top of this season’. And then that togetherness, it begins to construct by outcomes and achievements. “
You can watch the complete interview with Rio Ferdinand within the 90mins Manchester United podcast “The Promised Land” – subscribe now.
BT Sport is the exclusive home of UEFA Champions League football. Watch Manchester United vs. Atletico Madrid on Tuesday, March 15 from 19:00 live on BT Sport 2, online and on the BT Sport app. For more information, visit btsport.com.