Rio Ferdinand was gutted after defeat in Basel on Wednesday night sent Sir Alex’s men out of the Champions League, but the defender insists the Reds’ sights are now firmly set on Europa League success.
“We're in the Europa League now and I've always said that whatever competition we’re in we don't enter it to come second or to get knocked out in the early stages,” Ferdinand told MUTV. “We're always in it to win it and this is no different.”
Indeed, the Reds’ involvement in Europe after Christmas will now be on Thursday nights, in a competition the club has no experience in. That’s because United slipped up in Switzerland on Wednesday night, but also because of the Reds’ poor home form in this season’s competition.
Sir Alex’s men managed only one win at Old Trafford – against Otelul Galati – in the three group-stage fixtures, a record Rio Ferdinand admitted was simply not good enough.
“Nights at Old Trafford, under the lights, the Champions League music... that's what you live for. We've gone out early this year and we're disappointed. But we can't blame anyone else but ourselves.
“The lads are all devastated to have gone out at this stage of the tournament. But that’s the reality. That’s what’s happened.
“We have to look back at the games at Old Trafford. We've not done enough to win those games. The manager's always said that if you don't win your home games you don't deserve to go through. That's the case this season.”
Despite the disappointment, Ferdinand vowed United would recover. It’s what makes Manchester United great, he said.