Sir Alex Ferguson admitted that his defensive crisis is unlikely to improve anytime soon, in the aftermath of yesterday’s 1-0 defeat at Everton.
He said:”I don’t think any [of the defenders] will be fit for Fulham on Saturday. Hopefully Jonny Evans is getting near to be able to start. With a good week’s training it will bring him on a bit and in a couple of weeks he will be okay.” (Guardian)
Marouane Feliani’s headed goal just before the hour mark condemned United to their first opening-day defeat in eight years, with Michael Carrick given the unenviable task of marking the big Belgian in the corner which led to the goal.
Last season’s runners-up were incapable of stopping the supply line to Feliani, who effortlessly held up the ball and became the focal point for the Toffees’ forward play.
This is something that Ferguson emphasised: “It was just difficult to handle him [Fellaini] when they were knocking these balls up to him. They worked from that base all the time and they got a goal from him, so it’s justified.”
Carrick played in the centre-back position alongside the returning Nemanja Vidic, who played his first competitive match in over eight months.
United were continuously troubled by balls into the area, but at least they could be encouraged by the improvement made by David de Gea, who appeared to be unfazed with the home side’s tactics.
Ferguson’s side are already three points behind champions, Manchester City and Chelsea, knowing that a win in Saturday’s match at home to Fulham is vital if they are to keep pace with their title rivals.
But David Moyes was understandably delighted with the result, although he stated that his side would not become complacent and believe their history of starting badly to a season was over.
“I’m really pleased because I thought the team performed ever so well and got a great result.
“We haven’t started the season very well [in recent seasons] and even tonight’s result doesn’t tell you you’ve started the season well. You probably judge it after about 10 games how you start the season”, he added.