Manchester United’s former centre-back, Rio Ferdinand, has reigned in European expectations for the Red Devils this season after they suffered a shock 2-1 defeat at Swiss side Young Boys on Tuesday.
Cristiano Ronaldo had recently hinted that they were aiming for Champions League glory this campaign after getting off to a great start domestically.
It looked like business as usual for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side when Ronaldo built on his two-goal debut to put United ahead in the 13th minute.
However, an Aaron Wan-Bissaka red card proved to be a turning point in the match, with Young Boys able to grow into the game thereafter.
After drawing level in the second-half, a dramatic winner from Theoson Siebatcheu in the final minute of injury time poured cold water on the jubilant mood around United.
Solskjaer has been criticised for a number of his decisions during the game, including the substitution of both Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes during the second-half.
The results gets United’s Champions League campaign off to the worst possible start, and in light of Ronaldo’s comments after thrashing Newcastle, the Portuguese was expecting more.
“We have a fantastic team, a young team with a fantastic coach, but as I have said before, we have to build up our confidence,” said the 36-year-old.
“The team needs to be mature if we want to win the league and if we want to win the Champions League, and I think we are in a good way.
“We have to win games, build up the confidence, build up the team and I am here to help the team.”
Ronaldo’s comments hint that United are targeting all major honours this season, both domestic and European, and who could blame him after their early-season performances.
The former Real Madrid man was riding high after netting twice on his return to Old Trafford, while the sight of Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane in their starting line-up was also a sign of United’s progression.
In light of their defeat in Switzerland, however, Ferdinand had his own way of reigning in expectations.
“I would put City and Chelsea above Man United right at this moment in time, it could change,” he told BT Sport.
“Chelsea look like a team capable of pulling results out at any given time.
“City have the experience as well of winning things but Man United are the least experienced of the four [English] teams and least amount of understanding of how to win trophies.”
They are big statements for Ferdinand to make, given United have put together one of the strongest squads in the league and currently sit top.
Perhaps he is fearful that Ronaldo’s return to Manchester could be tainted with disappointment, or maybe it was one of Solskjaer’s former team-mates attempting to take some of the expectation of his shoulders for the season ahead.