The veteran center back revealed he lost "three-four kilos" over 90 minutes in the hot and humid conditions in Japan, and reserved special praise for hometown hero Shinji KagawaManchester United defender Rio Ferdinand says he lost an astonishing four kilograms in the Premier League champions' 2-2 draw against Cerezo Osaka on Friday.
The Red Devils needed an injury-time equalizer from substitute Wilfried Zaha against the J-League outfit in order to prevent a third defeat of the their preseason tour of Asia.
But Ferdinand was grateful for the extensive workout, claiming it was amongst the hardest conditions he has played in, and believes United will be fitter as a result.
“I think the fitness is getting better,” the 34-year-old told reporters. “Today’s conditions were possibly the hardest I’ve played in physically – I lost 3-4 kilos in fluids so that tells you how hard the conditions are.
“I said to the lads before I’ve never, ever, ever had an easy game in Japan. When we play against these teams they’re always good, they always play well.
“Tactically they're very good, all very comfortable on the ball, so I think it’s really good for us to come here because we get tested and because the Japanese guys are in the middle of the season, they’re all fit, [whereas] we’re still searching to be fit so it makes it hard for us.
“But it’s perfect conditions for us to become fitter.”
Ferdinand also praised local hero Shinji Kagawa, who made 125 appearances for Cerezo Osaka before joining Borussia Dortmund in 2010, and believes he can have a big impact at Old Trafford this season.
“It’s like David Beckham coming so he’s a hero here and rightly so,” Ferdinand continued. “He’s got a big part to play, a big role to play.
“You see today with a great goal. He missed a penalty – too much pressure, maybe – but no, he’s a fantastic player, we love having him here and I think this season we’ll see a big improvement from last season.”