Man Utd: Solskjaer urges team to use Europa pain to rebuild
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Liverpool legend Steve Nicol has laughed off Rio Ferdinand’s claims that Manchester United have overtaken Jurgen Klopp’s side. United finished second in the Premier League table last season, five points clear of Liverpool in third. The Reds’ squad was decimated by injury problems, especially in defence, which put an end to their hopes of back-to-back titles.
Like Liverpool, United ended the season trophyless, losing to Villarreal in the final of the Europa League.
However, it was a much improved campaign for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
It was their highest league finish since the 2017/18 campaign under Jose Mourinho.
Speaking last week, former United defender Ferdinand said he could not have asked for much more heading into the season.
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Ferdinand also said Liverpool have fallen behind United following their poor title defence.
“In the league we’ve got what we wanted, which was an improvement,” Ferdinand told Goal.
“I think Man United at the end of last season [2019-20] finished 30-odd points behind Liverpool.
“Liverpool are now behind us and they’ll have their excuses and reasons why but the cold facts are that we have gained that much ground on them that we’ve gone past them this season.
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“That shows vast improvement and we’re second in the league.
“By no means are we the finished article but I think at the beginning of the season if you’d said you’d finish second in the league from where we were I think they’d have snapped your hand off.”
However Nicol, who won four league titles with Liverpool between 1984 and 1990, completely disagrees with Ferdinand.
When Ferdinand’s quotes were posed to him on ESPN FC’s Extra Time programme, Nicol responded: “What a lot of rubbish! Fallen behind Manchester United…
“Seriously? Absolutely, what a lot of rubbish. My goodness.”
As well as winning the league title more recently than United, Liverpool also won the Champions League in 2019.
United’s last league title came in 2013, with their last Champions League trophy in 2008.
In fact, the last major silverware United won was the Europa League under Mourinho in 2017.
Ferdinand is hopeful for a big summer window and has identified the areas he feels need strengthening.
“They need to recruit well in this window in the right areas,” he added.
“I think they need a centre-back, a right winger and maybe even a centre-forward.”
“[Harry Kane] would be nice wouldn’t it. But my first position to buy would be centre-back.”
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