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Ferguson critical of United defending

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson rued his side’s poor defending in their shock 3-2 loss to Blackburn at Old Trafford.

A brace from Rovers top scorer Yakubu was cancelled out by Dimitar Berbatov in the second half, but defender Grant Hanley headed home from a corner to earn a late victory for the Premier League strugglers.

“It is a disappointment – we can’t believe it,” Ferguson told ESPN. “We never expected that to happen.”

“We have lost two terrible goals in the game and you cannot do that in games like this.”

“They are fighting for their lives of course and you can expect them to put up that kind of fight. They were resilient, they defended really well and blocked shots around the goal-line all day but if you lose goals like we did, then it gives them a big opportunity to hang on.”

United goalkeeper David De Gea was caught out of position by Hanley as he converted the decisive goal, but Sir Alex refused to place the blame solely on the young Spaniard.

“Yes, (De Gea could have done better), but I think we could all have done a lot better with (the third goal),” he said.

“We have got a lot of injuries at the moment but hopefully that will improve.”

“We had to take a gamble on Anderson’s fitness, he has been training very well for 10 days now but obviously for his first game back it is not easy, but he didn’t let us down and did his best.”

“Midfield is an area we were missing experience, like Michael Carrick and Ryan Giggs.”

Despite the defeat handing the initiative to rivals Manchester City in the title race, Ferguson remained confident that his team would put the surprise setback behind them.

“We can improve on today’s performance and we won’t put many other displays in like that. I’m still very confident we will have a real go this season,” he said.

Sat 31 December, 2011
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