Rio Ferdinand has admitted that Manchester United “failed” despite their extremely narrow defeat to Villarreal in the Europa League final.
The La Liga side triumphed 11-10 on penalties after an extremely tight 1-1 draw in Gdansk on Wednesday night.
Defeat means Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is still waiting for his first piece of silverware in two and a half years in charge at Old Trafford.
And while Ferdinand admits that the second place finish this year shows they are moving in the “right direction”, there is still no “winning culture” at the club.
“If you look at it as a whole season, they’ve improved from where they were last season,” the former defender told BT Sport.
“You can see that they’re going in the right direction slowly, but surely. This was an opportunity to form a winning culture at the football club.”
Ferdinand also lamented United’s “failure” to take their best chance at winning a trophy in some time.
“That was the test tonight and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his team failed,” he went on. “You have to put it bluntly – it’s a fact.
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“You’re trying to build a winning culture, you’re trying to create an environment when you can see the players becoming that unit, that team, accustomed to playing in these situations.
“If you get to the final, you’re there to win it, that’s it, and if you don’t, to be brutal about it, it’s a failure in that sense.”
Fellow Red Devils Paul Scholes was also highly critical of his former side, even revealing he felt that some of the less experienced players didn’t look upset enough at losing in the final.
“It’s difficult to come out of that game and give them credit,” said Scholes.
“They weren’t very good tonight, they’ll hold their hands up, the manager will hold his hands up. But overall, there’s been progress.
“The thing I worry about, does losing hurt them enough?
“As a United player, when you lose games, look at the last three or four weeks – they’ve lost games, does it really hurt?
“You look at Bruno Fernandes, Cavani, people who have great experience, they won’t like it, of course they won’t.
“They’re the ones that look to me as if they’re proper hurting. The others, sometimes it can look a little bit acceptable.
“Even from the manager sometimes it looks a little bit acceptable. United have almost become a nice club that people like.”