Sir Alex Ferguson Stoke Reaction

Boss bemoans slow starts

Sir Alex Ferguson insists Manchester United must break the bad habit of conceding early goals in order to be successful this season.

The Reds had to come from behind once again to ensure maximum points against Stoke City on Saturday after an 11th-minute Wayne Rooney own goal had put the visitors ahead. Rooney netted at the right end just before the half-hour mark before further strikes from Robin van Persie, Danny Welbeck and Rooney again sealed a 4-2 victory.

Sir Alex was pleased with the result, but wants to see an improvement from his players in the way they are starting matches.

“We keep starting badly in games, in the first 20 minutes,” the manager told MUTV. “We conceded an early goal against Fulham, an early goal against Tottenham, an early goal today – we’re giving ourselves uphill fights. But there’s a goal threat about us, that has to be said, and some of the movement from the forwards was excellent.

“You don’t want it to happen [going behind] but the forwards are digging us out of a hole at times. Hopefully we’ll get it sorted. It was an own goal, the first goal, and you obviously can’t account for that. The second goal was a really slack goal for us to lose.

“There’s no doubt our attacking play has been the strongest part of our game [thsi season]. But we’re letting in goals at home and that’s disappointing.”

The combination play between United’s starting front men of Rooney, van Persie and Welbeck caused the visitors all sorts of problems and Sir Alex was delighted to see the two Englishmen in the trio score their first club goals of the season.

“The more games Wayne gets, the better he’s going to become and I am pleased he’s off the mark with his two goals and Danny’s off the mark too,” added the boss. “I think that’s about 15 [different] goalscorers already this season so that’s good.

“We saw that flexible movement we have up front where Robin ended up wide left and put in a great cross for Wayne to score [the first goal] with a fantastic header. That kind of movement does bother teams and I’m glad they have started to gel quite well that way.”

Today’s match was United’s chosen game to show support for Kick It Out‘s latest anti-racism campaign. Sir Alex said on Friday that all his players would be supporting the campaign by donning special T-shirts during the warm-up. Rio Ferdinand, however, opted not to wear one.

“I’m disappointed because I said in the press conference yesterday that all the players would be wearing the T-shirt,” stated Sir Alex afterwards. “We did that in support of the PFA and every player in the country should have adhered to that. We’re all wearing the badges and he goes and lets us all down. We’ll deal with it, don’t worry.”


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