Rio Ferdinand insists there should be no concerns about Manchester United’s pre-season form even though Sevilla condemned the Premier League champions to a third defeat in seven games.
United manager David Moyes has endured a difficult opening few weeks in charge, with an indifferent set of results adding to the anxiety caused by Wayne Rooney’s desire to leave Old Trafford and the failure to add new signings.
England striker Rooney, 27, trained with the reserves on Thursday and Friday, undergoing more intensive sessions rather than working with the players that were set to feature in Ferdinand’s testimonial against Sevilla on Friday.
Rooney returned from the pre-season tour of the Far East and Australia after one day with a hamstring injury and missed Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Swedish side AIK with a shoulder problem.
He was not even at the ground for Ferdinand’s match, which saw Moyes’ side beaten 3-1 in his first match in charge at Old Trafford, making it 13 goals conceded in his first seven games.
United now have just Sunday’s Community Shield against Wigan at Wembley before starting the defence of their Premier League title at Swansea next weekend.
After that they face a difficult run of matches, with Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City providing the opposition in three of the next four games.
But centre-back Ferdinand, 34, maintains there is no reason to worry despite the underwhelming early results under Moyes, who replaced the retired Alex Ferguson at the end of last season.
“There is a frustration. We want to win every game so to lose is disappointing but it’s lucky there weren’t three points at stake,” he said.
“The Community Shield is a big game and it’s a chance to win silverware so we want to win.
“But the most important game coming up is the Swansea game because we want to retain our league title.”
Sevilla were in Europa League action on Thursday, but just 24 hours later they were the sharper side at Old Trafford, with Diego Perotti cutting the United defence open for Vitolo to open the scoring and Vitolo laying on a goal for on-loan Chelsea midfielder Marko Marin.
Antonio Valencia pulled one back when he finished off a cross to the far post from Adnan Januzaj, but Bryan Labello scored a third for the visitors from a Kevin Gameiro pass.
Although issues such as Rooney’s future continue to dominate, Moyes cannot fail to have been impressed with the form of Belgian youngster Januzaj in pre-season, while Jesse Lingard has also staked a claim for permanent involvement in the first-team squad with a string of good performances.