Manchester United forward pair Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford have come in for heavy criticism from former defender Rio Ferdinand after “invisible” performance levels in the midweek defeat to Sheffield United.
The Red Devils had the chance to go back to the top of the Premier League table, but suffered a 2-1 loss to the league’s bottom club - just the Blades’ second win of the campaign.
There were very few clear chances created overall by United, who were lacking the intensity and clinical edge of recent matches which saw them edge wins over Fulham and Burnley down at the bottom end of the table.
Ferdinand felt that lack of spark was exemplified by the forward pair, with Rashford starting from the left and Martial at centre-forward, but neither going close to finding a goal - the latter’s finish into the net coming after the referee had already blown his whistle for a foul on the goalkeeper.
"They didn't have that zip about them. From minute one, really, there wasn't that cut and thrust we've seen from United," Ferdinand said on BT Sport.
"Credit Sheffield United, Chris Wilder set them up very well, but United didn't ask the questions. Bruno Fernandes, who they've relied on so heavily in recent weeks, months, didn't get it going today. Paul Pogba the same.
"Rashford and Martial were invisible, didn't get on the end of anything, didn't create anything."
Ferdinand went further than looking at individual performances and suggested that the result puts a stop to any immediate thoughts of winning the title.
United remain second, but the margin for error has been extremely small over the past few seasons and rivals Man City have been in excellent form of late.
"If anybody was starting to get carried away at Old Trafford, with the position that they're on, it was a reality check. I think recently Man Utd, in terms of reaction, have been brilliant but tonight it seemed to come crumbling down.
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