‘Expecting crazy s***’ – Rio Ferdinand identifies Manchester United change going into derby

United head into tomorrow&aposs Manchester derby against City at Old Trafford with a spring in their step. They have won each of their last eight matches in all competitions and their 3-0 win over Charlton Athletic in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night has put them on the brink of a trip to Wembley next month.

United have made significant progress since they were beaten 6-3 by City at the Etihad Stadium at the start of October, losing just one of their last 18 matches. They have won each of their last six since the campaign resumed following the World Cup pause, conceding just one goal.

It means United will head into their derby showdown with City with confidence flowing through veins and for Ferdinand, his pre-match mindset has completely changed as a result of the improvements that have been overseen by Ten Hag.

“I&aposm now going to a game not looking through my fingers, expecting crazy s*** going on,” said Ferdinand, as quoted by the Mirror. “For far too long we were going into games thinking &aposobviously we&aposre going to get beaten here today, but I don&apost know by how many&apos.

“Or we were going to the likes of Brentford, conceding one and it could end up being three or four. It&aposs not nice going to games feeling like that. But I&aposm going into this derby thinking we can give them a game. I&aposm going there with a bit of &aposI fancy us today, I fancy us to beat them and dominate the ball&apos.

“We&aposve got to play at our best and hope that they drop a little bit to win the game, but that&aposs better than how I&aposve gone into games in recent seasons. That&aposs because you can see something tactically that&aposs been consistently coming out every week now. You can see players gaining in confidence.”

Although United remain a work-in-progress under Ten Hag, they have made significant strides in a relatively short space of time. And in the eyes of Ferdinand, it is the fact that an identity and a recognised style of play has been restored that are among the biggest positives.

“The right pieces are being put in the jigsaw,” added the former centre-back. “I feel like there&aposs a puzzle that needs putting together and there are some good pieces being put in place at the moment.

“In terms of the recruitment element, Ten Hag and his team have to get the right players in. You look at Lisandro Martinez and Christian Eriksen, two stand-outs in terms of his recruitment.

“There was some negativity surrounding both of those signings, but they&aposve been integral to anything positive that&aposs been going on at the club. Over the last few years, how many players have gone up in value and improved the squad with consistent performances? You&aposre hard-pressed to find any.

“Bruno Fernandes is the only one that comes out with any positive comments in that sense. But Ten Hag has improved quite a few players.

“Luke Shaw&aposs value has gone up, so has Diogo Dalot and Marcus Rashford&aposs, obviously. That&aposs what the manager is there to do, to improve the players he has at his disposal.

“There are more patterns in the play, getting the ball from back to front. You can see there&aposs an idea of what they want to achieve. Defensively, the big thing is there is a shape within the team. There aren&apost players allowed to run loose and do their own thing.

“There isn&apost that panic there was before or the complete capitulation that we&aposve been seeing for a while. There&aposs a calmer edge around the team. There are still big strides to be made in all those departments, but you&aposre seeing good signs coming through more often.”

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