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Sazali Abdul Aziz
Monday, May 19, 2014

Sports

Football: Ferdinand lifts the lid on a turbulent season at Old Trafford

The New Paper | Sazali Abdul Aziz | Monday, May 19, 2014

Rio Ferdinand.

Bickering and fights were commonplace in the Manchester United changing room towards the end of David Moyes' short-lived reign as manager.

Red Devils defender Rio Ferdinand, who has also worn the captain's armband several times, will leave the club after 12 trophy-laden years when his contract expires next month.

Yesterday, he lifted the lid on what transpired behind closed doors over a turbulent season at Old Trafford that ultimately cost Alex Ferguson's handpicked successor his job.

The 35-year-old, who is in town for the SG Game On! Ultimate Selfie Challenge organised by SingTel and Samsung, was speaking to The New Paper in a one-on-one interview at the Marina Bay Sands yesterday.

"You had players who won loads of stuff together, so when you don't win, there's frustration," he said.

"You start looking for answers, you start asking questions, pointing at people, pointing at yourself.

"There's going to be arguments, there's going to be tension - that's what happens in a squad full of people that want to win.

"It doesn't get out much and people (outside) don't get information, but there have always been arguments and there have always been fights.

"In fact, I've never been in a squad at Man United where there hasn't been arguments, whether we were winning or losing. If there wasn't any arguing or fighting, that's when you have to start worrying."

Moyes lasted just 10 months as United manager as the 20-time champions of England finished an unprecedented seventh in the Premier League and failed to qualify for European football next season.

Some pundits and media outlets suggested that the influence of unhappy senior players like Ferdinand led to Moyes' downfall.

But the former England international brushed aside such talk.

UNDER SCRUTINY

"The press are looking for something, looking for answers as to why we were in a position we were in, and that's normal," he said coolly.

"It's what you expect nowadays, people are going to point the finger and blame someone.

"We, as players, as well as the manager at the time, take full responsibility for what happened last season.

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