Sir Alex Ferguson was at Anfield on Thursday night as Manchester United succumbed to a 2-0 defeat to Liverpool in the Europa League.
The former United boss is a regular at home and away games, however he might have regretted attending this one.
Paul Scholes called United’s performance “shambolic”, and, based on Ferguson’s reaction, he probably felt the same way.
SIGN UP NOW
Want to become a GMS writer? Sign up now and submit a 250-word test article: https://gms.to/haveyoursay4
The cameras panned to the Scot midway through the second half and caught him shaking his head in disappointment. “They were never this bad during my era”, he might have been thinking to himself.
United now face an uphill battle to reach the quarter-finals of the tournament following the first-leg defeat. They were outclassed by Jurgen Klopp’s team and were undone by goals from Daniel Sturridge and Roberto Firmino.
Watch Ferguson's reaction to United's performance
Ferguson guided the Red Devils to two Champions League victories during his stay at the club. Now, they’re staring at an exit from the last 16 of Europe’s lesser competition.
Scholes and fellow United hero Rio Ferdinand were scathing in their criticism of Louis van Gaal following the defeat.
The former midfielder told BT Sport (per the Daily Mail): “They were a shambles. The lack of quality and fight… when you are United, there are certain standards you have to be at, and they haven’t made them.
“When we were playing we were reaching them. These players are falling well short.
“The worst thing is these players now apologising on Twitter and Facebook. Just get out there and play! These players that have come in for £300million are no better than the players that have been allowed to leave the club.”
A number of players have departed Old Trafford in recent years and Ferdinand voiced his confusion at the players United have allowed to leave.
“I’ve written down a list of players. Di Maria, Nani, Evra, Welbeck, Chicharito, Evans, Fletcher, Rafael, Kagawa ... I could go on. Are they worse than the players out there? They are better than that team there — that’s the problem.”
Where's the identity?
Ferguson established an identity at Old Trafford that was present in all of the teams he built.
Yet Scholes admitted he had “no idea” what United were trying to achieve on Thursday.
“For 20 years Manchester United had an identity,” the 41-year-old said. “You were going to play fast football, going to pass the ball forward, tackle, run. The last three years they have gone away from something that worked.
“You look at the pitch tonight and what are they trying to do? I have absolutely no idea. The first half was shocking, the second half they go to three at the back, which they tried last season and was a disaster, and tonight again it was a disaster.”
The days where United were regular title and European contenders seem like a lifetime ago.