Stop conceding early
Sir Alex Ferguson believes Manchester United’s habit of falling behind this season is an Achilles heel – but admits his team’s ability to fight back is “a credit to the character of the club”.
In all competitions this campaign, United have staged eight dramatic comeback victories and most recently came from two goals down at Villa Park, where Javier Hernandez scored twice and inspired a third to seal an incredible 3-2 win over Aston Villa.
Although such feats showcase great resolve and spirit, the boss insists his side must improve defensively and not rely on the team’s game-changing players.
“Certainly after last Saturday’s experience we don’t want to lose two goals and be having to fight back all the time,” Sir Alex said. “That’s certainly an Achilles’ heel on the one hand this season. The fact we’ve got players who can change the course of the game is certainly a big advantage to us. When Chicharito came on last week the game changed completely.
“You actually don’t expect it. You don’t expect to be behind by two goals. That’s the part that you always find difficult. It’s not that we underestimate anyone – it’s just that we don’t expect a Manchester United team to be behind. You’ve got to go into games believing you’re going to be two goals ahead rather than two behind. But it has happened a few times this season.
“We’ve been two goals behind against Tottenham and we were a bit unlucky not to come back. But it won’t happen all the time. It’s not definite that you’ll come back from 2-0 down. And this is the area we are going to improve on. We are going to defend better. We don’t want to lose the advantage of what we’ve experienced last week.”
A huge positive that stems from United’s late comebacks, aside from the obvious bonus of gathering three points, is the collective moral boost inside the dressing room – a benefit Sir Alex is aware of.
“It does feel different. I think the dressing room is different too. When you get these late goals and when you’ve come from behind in particular, it does make an impact on the dressing room. There is more excitement and we’ve experienced that many times. It’s a credit to the character of the club that we can do that.”