United deservedly lost 2-0 at St. James’ Park, courtesy of goals from Joe Willock and Callum Wilson, with Erik ten Hag’s side putting in one of their worst performances of the season.
The result means that the Magpies have leap-frogged the Red Devils into third-place, with United dropping out of the top four after Tottenham drew 1-1 at Everton on Monday night.
There was plenty of criticism aimed at the players, with Luke Shaw admitting he and his teammates didn’t show enough ‘passion, desire, hunger and attitude’.
But Ferdinand has now questioned Ten Hag’s team selection, with Marcel Sabitzer and Scott McTominay starting in the midfield pivot with Bruno Fernandes in the No.10 role, though the latter two changing position throughout the match.
‘I was shocked that Fred didn’t play. Understanding what’s needed and what’s required for this game, Fred has the energy, the legs, the tenacity,’ the legendary United defender said on FIVE.
‘When you’re at St. James’ you’ve got to have people who understand that it’s going to be a physical game and be up for it and have that energy.
‘You can criticise Fred for anything but energy, sacrifice and applying himself has never been something you can throw at him as a negative. They are the things that come with Fred as part of his game.
‘So I was really surprised when he didn’t start the game. But I feel as a whole team no one took the bull by the horns. They weren’t up for it.’
Ferdinand also slammed the team for their dip in performances since winning the Carabao Cup in February, which has included a 7-0 defeat at Liverpool and a goalless draw against bottom of the table Southampton.
‘It seems like they’ve won the Carabao Cup and downed tools. They think they’ve done enough, that’s what it feels like,’ he added.
‘We were looking in a really good position [to finish in the top four]. Now it’s a lottery because no one’s got any real vein of form at the minute.’
United will hope to get back to winning ways in their next game on Wednesday night when they host Brentford.
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