Manchester United cannot get close to winning the Premier League this season, according to Rio Ferdinand.
The Old Trafford side beat Liverpool 3-1 on Saturday to go second in the league after five games, with Daley Blind, Ander Herrera and Anthony Martial on target.
While only Manchester City sit above Louis van Gaal’s side, former Red Devils defender Ferdinand does not believe they can mount a serious challenge for the title this term.
“They’ll finish in the top four,” the ex-England defender told the Telegraph. “But I don’t think they’ll go close to winning the league.
“The philosophy is completely different from what it used to be. Their philosophy at the moment seems to be: ‘We’ll keep the ball more than you, you won’t have comfortable possession. Us suffocating you with possession is our first form of defence’.
“Man United supporters now have to go away and re-educate themselves on how to watch Man United. Don’t go there expecting to see free-flowing, attacking, gung-ho football. It’s methodical, side to side, wait for an opportunity to come. They suffocate other teams.
“Van Gaal is big enough, strong enough and experienced enough to know that he’s not going to please everyone.”
United’s spending has increased immensely since Van Gaal was appointed coach and Ferdinand is not convinced the major investment is making them a better side.
“You think, ‘You’ve spent all that money, where is the centre-half?” he added. “Daley Blind? He’s a fantastic all-round footballer but he’s not a defender.
“He’s not going to spot danger as quick as a natural defender. He’s indecisive in certain areas, he’s not comfortable, he’s not used to being in certain positions and then the ball is behind and he can’t recover.
“The real top, top drawer players are playing for Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich. They make big differences in the big games and you have to be a special team to stop those players.”
The 36-year-old brought an end to a 12-year spell at United when he left to join Queens Park Rangers in 2014 before retiring in the summer and he admits he was not happy at being forced out of Old Trafford.
“I was disappointed that I wasn’t allowed to stay. Speaking to the lads now, they say it’s a great education. It’s different to what they’ve ever known,” he added.
“Everything’s changing other than the groundsman and the chef.
“I was talking to Nemanja Vidic and we were both saying the change is unreal in terms of the personnel and the transfer policy. We were saying, ‘If they’d spent £50 million when we were there, we’d have won how much more?’”