Rio Ferdinand admitted he was laughing at Jose Mourinho as he claimed he was the victim of a ‘manhunt’ after his side’s dramatic 3-2 win against Newcastle at Old Trafford.
With Mourinho pushed to the brink of the sack after his side fell 2-0 behind against Rafael Benitez’s struggling side, a stirring second half fightback produced goals from Juan Mata and Anthony Martial, before a last gasp winner from substitute Alexis Sanchez sealed a thrilling victory.
The win inspired Mourinho to serve up a bitter post match interview as he suggested he was the victim of ‘wickedness’ and ‘a manhunt’ designed to drive him out of his job at Old Trafford, but United legend Ferdinand dismissed those claims in his role as a BT Sport pundit.
“I don’t know where ‘wickedness’ and ‘manhunt’ comes from,” declared Ferdinand. “To sit and moan, I find that laughable. I was laughing at what he was saying.
“If you see something on the football pitch, you talk about it. He’s the Manchester United manager. Man Utd’s manager doesn’t go unnoticed – win, lose or draw. There’s going to be scrutiny.
“When you sign up to become Man Utd manager, you do not sign up to have it all your own way. Especially if things are going wrong.
“If things are going wrong, you’re going to be under intense scrutiny, that comes with this job. That’s in the small print somewhere.
“Were not sitting here wanting Man Utd to do bad, we want Man Utd to perform like they did in the second half.
“What are we meant to say? Something else? Are we meant to say, ‘oh it’s been good, it’s been OK, he’s all right, he’s going to get through it’?
“You say what you see, you can’t expect anything different. And to sit and moan and say ‘oh they’re hunting me’ and ‘it’s wickedness’… I find it laughable, I was sitting here half laughing at that.”
Ferdinand’s former United team-mate Paul Scholes was also surprised by Mourinho’s comments, as he suggested criticism was inevitable when he has overseen the club’s worst start to a season in 29-years.
“Jose Mourinho has to realise that we expect Manchester United to be challenging to win the league and do well in the Champions League, so when they’re down in 10th, 11th place, he has to expect some stick,” declared Scholes.
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“This club gave us everything. This club gave us the life we have now. We want them to do well. The manager is always going to get the stick when the club’s struggling. When you’re at a big club you’re going to be under a lot of scrutiny.”
Ferdinand went on to suggest the pressure on Mourinho will still be under pressure if he hangs on to his job during the international break, as he claimed the United manager has failed to find a winning formula in his third season at Old Trafford.
“The question from the people above would be could he get a reaction from the players and over the last two weeks, that hasn’t been there,” he added. “He deserves credit today for getting a reaction. He has ticked one box there, but can he forge consistency with this squad now.
“The players responded at half time. It was magnificent what they did, but it’s the first time they’ve done it this season, now they need to do it consistently.
“The international break has come at a bad time for Manchester United because they’ll lose a bit of their momentum now, they would have loved to be playing in a couple of days.
“What is frustrating is you see the second half and they had passion, fight and desire. When I see United in the last year, I don’t see a real identity. That is the frustrating thing. When you have been at a club for two and a half years, you expect to see an identity or a pattern of play, but I don’t see that here.
“Manchester City and Liverpool have an identity, but where is United’s identity. From what I see, when things don’t go well for United, they hit it long to (Marouane) Fellaini. That’s not good enough.”