Rio Ferdinand has refused to be drawn on whether Manchester United can win the Premier League title this season while acknowledging he previously ‘jumped the gun’ with his ‘Ole’s at the wheel’ speech.
Ferdinand was widely criticised after waxing lyrical about Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in a long tirade after United defeated Paris Saint Germain in the Champions League in March 2019 during the early days of the Norwegian’s reign.
Now almost two years on Ferdinand heaped praise on United in the BT Sport studio as they defeated Watford to advance to the fourth round of the FA Cup. Next week United have the opportunity to go clear at the top of the Premier League table.
Mindful of the criticism he got after United experienced a huge dip in form following his excitable speech in which he insisted Solskjaer should write his own contract, Ferdinand is now proceeding with caution.
The United icon said: [It’s a] huge week, they win against Burnley and go top and put pressure on Liverpool.
‘As quick as you can get there, you can fall away, Spurs and Chelsea were up there and fell down and people are saying it’s the end of managers in charge there.. Ole’s experienced enough not to get too carried away. That’s living life at big clubs.
Ferdinand showed a strong awareness of the effect his words have had previously, admitting with a smile that he became something of an internet ‘meme’ after his post-PSG ecstasy went viral online.
Ferdinand added: ‘The highs are high, and the lows are lower than a snake’s belly. I don’t want to jump the gun like I’ve done before.
‘I don’t want to become a meme again, but as a football fan, it’s part of it to become emotional, to get hyped up and get excited about things.
‘United sitting pretty at the top, after the game against Burnley we hope, I’ll be excited 100%.
‘But then it’s a massive game after that against Liverpool to say we’re not just flybys, we’re here to stay.
During his famous BT Sport speech an highly excitable Ferdinand said in 2019: ‘Get the contract out, put it on the table, let him sign it and let him put whatever numbers he wants to put on there given what he’s done since he’s come in.
‘Ole’s at the wheel man, he’s doing his thing, United are back’
Following Ferdinand’s words United soon embarked on a tough period, struggling desperately for form and finishing the campaign without managing to obtain a top four finish – ending the season 6th and sitting five points adrift of 4th-placed Tottenham.
Last season United performed markedly better, finishing the season which a flourish to finish third in the top flight.