The former Red Devils defender is confident that Jose Mourinho will ensure his side finish in the top four this season
Rio Ferdinand believes Jose Mourinho has found the winning mentality that will see Manchester United secure Champions League football this season and Zlatan Ibrahimovic will play a crucial role.
The Portuguese endured a slow start to life as United boss during the first half of the campaign, as they failed to assert themselves as title challengers, but 2017 has been promising for the Red Devils.
Despite dropping two points at home to Bournemouth, United are just three points short of local rivals Manchester City, who are in fourth, while also boasting a game in hand over the Citizens.
Victory in their game in hand would likely see them return to the top four, providing there are no slip-ups, with both Liverpool and Arsenal both enduring inconsistency so far this year – despite being third and fifth in the table respectively.
And is those two English giants that Ferdinand believes will be left to scrap it out for a place in the Europa League next campaign, while Mourinho’s men, the former defender feels, will return to Europe’s elite club competition.
“I think it will be Arsenal and Liverpool who miss out. The problem is, all the teams we’ve mentioned have an inconsistency,” said Ferdinand.
“United have got into a groove and a mentality, and a way of winning. They drew (with Bournemouth), but they’ve got their hands on a trophy.”
And the former England international believes United’s top scorer, Ibrahimovic, who netted twice in their 3-2 EFL Cup final victory over Southampton last weekend, that will be the key to United’s return to the top four.
“I still think Jose Mourinho will be able to pick them up and re-align that. I think the most important thing to United is Zlatan Ibrahimovic.”