London: Rio Ferdinand said he is surprised by Manchester United`s poor start to life under Louis van Gaal but believes the Dutchman is the man to restore the club`s former glory.
After 12 trophy-laden years at Old Trafford, Ferdinand left in the summer to join Queens Park Rangers but has watched from afar as United have failed to win any of their opening four matches including a League Cup thrashing at third tier MK Dons.
"I have to be honest, pre-season I was really excited for Man United," Ferdinand said in a BBC interview to be screened on Saturday. "They looked really fit, really decisive, and looked like they had a good understanding of the system.
"But it was almost like a reversal once the season started."
Ferdinand returns to Old Trafford on Sunday where he hopes to get the opportunity to say goodbye properly after his summer move, although keeping the likes United strikers Radamel Falcao, Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney quiet will be his priority.
With Angel di Maria also signed long with Colombian Falcao in the transfer window, Van Gaal now looks as though he has the firepower to get United`s season back on track after defeat by Swansea City and draws with Burnley and Sunderland.
"I think thy will get it right," Ferdinand said. "I think the manager who`s there now gets things right.
"I have every confidence he will bring back good times, it`s just a matter of how long it takes."
Ferdinand said United`s traditional supporters, those used to watching the club develop home-grown talent such as Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and the Neville brothers, might have to accept that those days might be over.
The signing of south American duo Di Maria and Falcao and the sale of local boy Danny Welbeck to Arsenal were signs that Van Gaal will try to assemble a team of marquee players.
"I think the real traditional fans who are real followers of the club took great pride and pleasure in the club producing home grown players," Ferdinand, who turns 36 in November, said.
"It seems there might be a changing in the order. The fans who used to watch other clubs splashing the cash can`t use that to beat anyone any more."
While United are still expected to be challenging for a top-four finish this season, Ferdinand has a more humble aim at Loftus Road where he is reunited with Harry Redknapp, with whom he got his first chance after emerging through West Ham academy.
"It`s al about survival this season," Ferdinand said.
"No bus parades or silverware. Just staying in the league is the expectation, that`s what the club needs."
Ferdinand is looking forward to returning to the club for whom he made more than 400 appearances though.
"It`s going to be emotional really," he said. "I had great years there and really good times but I never got to say bye when I left which was unfortunate.
"So it will be a nice opportunity to say bye to all the people that supported me."