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United crash 'The reality check' - Rio Ferdinand doesn't hold back as Man United are shocked by Sheffield United

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Bruno Fernandes and Edinson Cavani of Manchester United in conversation during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Sheffield United. (Photo by Dave Thompson - Pool/Getty Images)

Bruno Fernandes and Edinson Cavani of Manchester United in conversation during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Sheffield United. (Photo by Dave Thompson - Pool/Getty Images)

Bruno Fernandes and Edinson Cavani of Manchester United in conversation during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Sheffield United. (Photo by Dave Thompson - Pool/Getty Images)

Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand ripped into Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's "invisible" stars as they crashed to a shock defeat against bottom club Sheffield United at Old Trafford.

Oliver Burke’s first Premier League goal dented Manchester United’s title challenge as bottom-of-the-table Sheffield United claimed a sensational victory at Old Trafford.

Burke’s 74th-minute shot was defected past helpless keeper David De Gea by defender Axel Tuanzebe to secure a 2-1 win, just the Blades’ second in the league this season.

The surprise result halted United's attempt to return to the top of the Premier League table, inspiring Ferdinand to let rip into some of their misfiring stars on a night when their title credentials were exposed.

"They didn’t have that zip about them," Ferdinand told BT Sport. "From minute one, really, there wasn’t that cut and thrust from United where they’re cutting through teams.

"Credit again to Chris Wilder’s team, he set them up defensively very well. ‘But Man United didn’t ask the questions. Bruno Fernandes, who they’ve relied on so heavily in recent months, didn’t get it going today. Paul Pogba the same.

"(Marcus) Rashford and (Anthony) Martial were invisible really. Didn’t get on the end of anything, didn’t create anything.

"Martial at times as jogging back. No intensity, no urgency. It's not just about Martial, there are a few I could pick out. They didn't show intensity, some of them were walking as they defended.

"The reaction of the players at times... please race out to the ball. It's desire. That wasn't there. What are they doing? They needed to take the game by the scruff of the neck, but at times there was not once ounce of urgency.

"If anybody was starting to get carried away at Old Trafford in the position they’re in at the moment, the reality check was tonight."

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had few excused as his side were beaten for the first time since Arsenal won at Old Trafford in October.

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Manager of Manchester United and Chris Wilder, Manager of Sheffield United. (Photo by Tim Keeton -

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Manager of Manchester United and Chris Wilder, Manager of Sheffield United. (Photo by Tim Keeton -

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Manager of Manchester United and Chris Wilder, Manager of Sheffield United. (Photo by Tim Keeton -

"Disappointed, we couldn't get to the heights of the last few months' football we played," he stated. "We couldn't find a solution to their very compact block and good defence.

"Two wrong decisions, that's how it is, it's that kind of season, inconsistent and the referee missed those two.

"That little spark, that edge, we didn't have that extra creativity, imagination, the X factor we've had - it's happened, we look at it, agree it is not good enough and go again.

"We conceded a poor goal, lost the ball cheaply up the pitch, didn't get back in and tackle, didn't clear our lines and didn't get out to the ball quick enough and we were punished.

"That magic was missing, that little bit extra. They defended well, fair play to them but we didn't have the right ideas or solutions. The first goal is a foul, Billy Sharp runs into David de Gea. At the other end, no foul for the disallowed goal for us but it's that kind of season. Two mistakes by the referee.

"It wasn't to be, the second goal we conceded is so poor, so sloppy. Easy. We stopped getting out to the ball, three or four bad decisions which is out of character.

"There is no time to feel sorry for yourself because Saturday you go again, we have Arsenal, we have to forget this, learn from it and move on. There will be no big inquest. There have been so many odd results this season but with the world as it is we have been the most consistent team, it hit us today."

Liverpool will now move to within three points of United in a confusing title race in they beat Tottenham tomorrow night, with Manchester City's odds as title favourites narrowing once again after the Blades recorded a big win at Old Trafford.

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