‘Step too far’ - Rio Ferdinand makes frank Manchester United admission

The ex-United defender delivered a blunt assessment of Rangnick’s recent comments on the state of play at Old Trafford.

Rio Ferdinand has argued that Ralf Rangnick’s recent claim that Manchester United need “open heart surgery” to reestablish themselves as one of English football’s preeminent powers are overly harsh.

The Red Devils were left six points adrift of a Champions League qualification spot after Saturday lunchtime’s 3-1 defeat against Arsenal, and now face a monumental task to force their way into the top four in their remaining four matches.

With no silverware to speak of either, it looks set to be another disappointing season at Old Trafford, and Rangnick pulled no punches in his assessment of the scale of the rebuild needed under new manager Erik ten Hag.

Ralf Rangnick didn’t hold back in Friday’s press conference. Credit: Getty.

“You don’t even need glasses to analyse and to see where the problems are,” he said on Friday. “So, now it’s only about how do we solve them? For me, it’s clear it’s not enough to do some little, minor amendments, some little issues here and there, some minor cosmetic things.

“No, in medicine you would see this is an operation at the open heart. So there are more things to be changed than some little things here and some minor things there, and this is the good thing.”

The German has since come in for some criticism, however, with Ferdinand and fellow pundit Martin Keown both questioning the motives behind his comments.

Ferdinand disagrees with Rangnick’s comments. Credit: Getty.

Speaking during BT Sport’s coverage of Saturday’s defeat, Keown said: “I think Rangnick has copped out a little bit.

“He hasn’t chose the company line. There doesn’t seem to be the continuity that I’d expect. How do you do that overnight with a new manager walking through the door?”

Former United defender Ferdinand responded: “Rangnick has been here, I think he’s played his role.

“You can look at him and say on the one hand he’s been really honest, and that’s refreshing to see, but at the same time it’s maybe got to point where you wonder if he’s alleviating himself from having his fingerprints over such a period where the amount of wins you would expect him to get hasn’t really materialised.

“They’re the questions that are being asked when I see the statements being made now. Yes, I think there’s a lot of work to do, but I think open heart surgery is probably is a little bit of a step too far.”

United’s defeat to Arsenal was their third in four Premier League matches. Nuno Tavares and Bukayo Saka fired the Gunners into a first-half lead.

Cristiano Ronaldo pulled one back for the visitors before Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka sealed all three points for Mikel Arteta’s men after the interval .