Ferdinand: FA Cup win would not be enough for Man Utd
Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand has insisted that FA Cup final glory for his former club against Crystal Palace on Saturday will be no compensation for their failures this season.
Under-pressure United manager Louis van Gaal has hinted that winning a trophy in the showpiece game of the English football season will make up for United's failure to qualify for the Champions League.
Yet Ferdinand suggests Van Gaal is wrong in that assessment, as he argues United simply have to qualify for Europe's elite competition every season.
“Beating Palace will add a bit of gloss to the end of the season but you still can’t get away from the fact they haven’t qualified for the Champions League. It’s as simple as that," he says in an interview with The Sun.
“The FA Cup might be a trophy, but the Champions League is the Holy Grail now. It is sad to say but it outweighs winning at Wembley.
“The Champions League is such a big tournament in terms of financial gain and exposure. You have to be in there.
“Manchester United not being in it does not seem right. And covering the tournament and talking about it next season will seem a bit strange without them in it.
“When I was at United we would say we had to win a trophy. Now they could achieve that this season by lifting the FA Cup but they are going to do it without qualifying for the Champions League.
“We always qualified for the Champions League. We never even contemplated winning a trophy without finishing in the top four.
“When we set our goals and ambitions we knew it would be an all right season if we won one of the cups, a good season if we won the Premier League and a great season if we won the Champions League."
Ferdinand suggests standards have slipped at United since Alex Ferguson's departure as manager in 2013, as he claims Van Gaal is wrong to settle for second best with his class of 2016.
“Not once did we even speak about trying to finish in the top four when I was there, that was a given," he added.
"Nowadays when you ask anybody at United what their aim for the season is, they will say it is to qualify for the Champions League.
“That tells you the shift we have seen at the club in the last three or four years.
“Since Sir Alex Ferguson left, things haven’t really gone the way United were used to.
“It makes me marvel at the stuff Alex Ferguson must have done. It also makes me feel lucky and privileged to have played in the teams I did at United.”