Tuesday, May 28News That Matters

Ferdinand names the two players who have made Man Utd “a different team

Rio Ferdinand believes two players have completely transformed Manchester United under new manager Erik ten Hag.

United have largely impressed under former Ajax head coach Ten Hag, winning more than half of their Premier League matches this season after a poor start.

United beat top-four rivals Tottenham 2-0 at Old Trafford during the week and scored a late equaliser to draw 1-1 with Chelsea on Saturday.

The draw came at a cost, however, with defender Raphael Varane suffering a hamstring injury and leaving the stadium in tears.

Varane is now expected to miss all of United’s games before the mid-season break for the World Cup and Ferdinand says he will be a ‘huge loss’.

The France international was beginning to form a superb centre-back partnership with summer signing Lisandro Martinez and Ferdinand believes United have been a ‘different team’ with the duo in the side.

‘It seems to me that it isn’t going to be Harry Maguire who comes in now,’ Ferdinand said on the Vibe with Five YouTube channel. ‘It looks like it’s going to be Lindelof.

‘Lindelof is decent, I think he will come in and do a job, it just depends how long he’s being asked to do that job.‘Martinez has been top this season but Varane gives us that something different, that speed, that experience and physicality. I think he could be a huge loss.

‘You need them two [Varane and Martinez] back together. We’ve seen straight away that those two together make us a different team, it’s as simple as that.’

United and Chelsea appeared to be cancelling each other out on Saturday but Jorginho slotted home a late penalty to send Stamford Bridge wild.

The home side’s celebrations were cut short, however, as former Real Madrid star Casemiro guided a superb header into a top corner in the dying seconds to earn the club a point.

Reflecting on United’s draw, Ten Hag said: ‘I have to make a big compliment to my team. To fight back with a fourth game in 10 days, you see the spirit and how they deal with setbacks. Really good.

‘First half Rashford had two big chances, Antony one against one. You have to score goals in such moments because in top games three chances is massive. You have to score. ‘We dictated the game and I am happy with that. If you concede a goal late it is difficult.

‘Eight minutes before half time we had some troubles but defence in the second half we didn’t have troubles. The second half we didn’t really create big chances, but also Chelsea didn’t.

‘I think it is a fair result. I would have been disappointed if we had gone without a point because we didn’t deserve that. At the end of a tough week to come here, you bring the point home.’

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