Rio Ferdinand has warned Manchester United that another five-goal drubbing could be on the cards against Manchester City this weekend if they play as poorly as they did in Tuesday night's 2-2 draw away at Atalanta.
Cristiano Ronaldo was on hand to rescue the Red Devils again in the Champions League, volleying home a sensational injury-time equaliser to snatch a late point out in Bergamo.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men were on the verge of slumping to their second group-stage defeat of the season, with Duvan Zapata's second-half strike looking like the difference after Ronaldo had cancelled out Josip Ilicic's early opener.
Just like in their home outing against the same opposition, and their dramatic victory over Villarreal, the brilliance of Ronaldo spared United's blushes on what was otherwise a very disappointing evening.
And Ferdinand fears his former club, who were hammered 5-0 at home by Liverpool nine days ago, could receive another pasting if they repeat their second-half showing against Atalanta when City visit Old Trafford on Saturday.
"They cant have that second-half performance," the former United defender said on BT Sport after the draw in Italy.
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Cristiano Ronaldo ‘carrying Man Utd’ as fans admit star is ‘keeping Ole in the job’
"If they go out with that second-half performance against City, they'll get slapped again by 3, 4 or 5 goals, because that's shown a real lack of respect for the opposition [by] being really fragmented, all over the place and sloppy in situations with and without the ball.
"The intensity wasn't there. We looked at it at one point and went, 'what formation are they playing?' It was disarray.
"It was just hope and then it comes down to a moment of brilliance by Cristiano Ronaldo again and you go, 'he saved them that second half'."
Another low point for United on Tuesday night came when star defender Raphael Varane hobbled off injured seven minutes before half-time.
Ferdinand believes the former Real Madrid ace is a vital component of Solskjaer's side, adding: "I think we saw at the weekend the importance of Varane.
"When he came in that team at the weekend we thought, 'Ooooh'. Plus they played three at the back, but he was there and you thought there's a sense of security now in this team. He covers both sides very, very well.
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"As soon as he went off that pitch, they just looked so shaky and had a complete lack of confidence.
"Then they changed the system as well and went to a four, and then it just looked like they could get through this team at any point and it went back to type, which we've seen from the beginning of the season when you think they're easy to play against, they're lacklustre without the ball and they're gonna concede more chances if not goals.
"Again, they were fortunate not to concede any more and then the great man steps up."
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