Ferguson not worried by defensive frailties

Manchester United Manager, Sir Alex Ferguson

Sir Alex Ferguson insisted he is not worried by Manchester United’s defensive frailties at the start of the season,  Sky Sports reports.

Manchester United secured a tense 3-2 victory at newly-promoted Southampton yesterday, thanks to a hat-trick from Robin van Persie.

But the win was not without its hairy moments, as United conceded two goals through headers from back-post crosses.

“Everything we did in preparation for the game has all been to deal with back-post crosses and they scored two goals off them so that was disappointing.

“But credit to Southampton they are good at it,” Ferguson admitted.

The Red Devils have had a number of key defensive personnel out through injury, with Johnny Evans, Rio Ferdinand, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones starting the season on the treatment table.

Ferguson was keen to highlight the problem after what was a tough game for his side: “This season we’ve had four centre-backs injured for the first game. Carrick has played centre-back at Everton and we’ve had Valencia at right-back.

“If we get the centre-backs back that’ll give us a really good chance.”

But the situation is improving for United with Ferdinand making his return to the side yesterday, while Evans is now available for selection.

The return of Ferdinand alongside Vidic would have been a welcome sight for United, although the way in which Rickie Lambert consistently caused problems for the duo means it will take some time for them to re-form their partnership.

The introduction of Paul Scholes was however, the difference. The influence of Scholes was evident, as he was given time and space to find the likes of van Persie and Javier Hernandez, create havoc in the Saints defence.

“His vision and consistency of passing gave us complete control of the game,” said Ferguson.

The performance of van Persie was also a major plus for United, with the Dutchman now scoring four goals in two starts for the club.

Although he could have easily ruined Sir Alex’s 1,000th League match in charge after taking a soft penalty at 2-1, which Kelvin Davies managed to save easily.

But his two goals in the final five minutes of the match showed his class and typified a classic United comeback.