Ferguson down over United injuries
Sir Alex Ferguson offered a bleak outlook on Manchester United’s
injuries after their defensive frailties resulted in the 3-0 defeat
Ferguson admitted there is “no light at the end of the
tunnel” as United slumped to their fifth defeat of the campaign,
squandering the chance to join Chelsea at the top of the Premier
They endured only four losses throughout the whole of last
season when they marched to a third successive title.
Seven defenders, including Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand,
have been lost to the treatment room and Ferguson admitted his side
will fade from contention if their injury woes fail to improve.
“The way the league is at the moment I hope today is not too
damaging. I hope it doesn’t cost us the league,” he told MUTV.
“We’ll have to get our defenders back to give us a proper
chance of going for the league, there’s no question of that. But if
we get them back we’ll be back in it.
“The quicker they’re back the better. They’re doing their
best. The medical team and physios are working overtime to get them
“There’s no light at the end of the tunnel at the moment,
that’s for sure.”
Vidic’s failure to recover from a calf strain saw United
field a feeble three-man defence consisting of midfielders Michael
Carrick and Darren Fletcher and rookie Ritchie De Laet.
And Fulham, playing with confidence and belief, capitalised
with goals from Danny Murphy, Bobby Zamora and Damien Duff to
complete their second successive rout of United.
Ferguson, however, refused to blame his players as the
crippling injury rate finally caught up with them at Craven
“There was a fragility at the back and we couldn’t do
anything about that,” he said.
“You have to have sympathy for the players in that respect.
“It’s difficult to play midfielders at centre back and
Ritchie de Laet is only 21 years of age. He’s not got the
experience yet needed for these type of matches.
“Of course it was a terribly soft goal for the first one and
that gave them the platform to build on.
“The goal after half-time took care of us. It was a poor
decision by the referee for the third goal.
“We couldn’t get behind Fulham at all and their defence is
very well organised and it was a difficult day for us.
“The first goal was important for them but it was a bad one
for us. It was an uphill fight after that.
“To concede 20 seconds into the second-half killed the game.
We didn’t anticipate that.
“The players are maybe feeling a bit sorry for themselves at
the moment because of the situation they’re in.
“But the quality of the football wasn’t as good as it
“The fragile nature of the players at the back, with
midfielders playing in defence, has left them feeling sorry for
themselves a bit.”
Roy Hodgson admitted Fulham were helped by the makeshift look
to United’s rearguard but praised their efficiency in putting them
to the sword.
“We were playing against a wounded Manchester United today
and that worked in our favour,” he said.
“But I can’t ask any more of our team than to beat who is
front of them and to play as well as they can.”
Zamora inspired the victory, scoring the second, setting up
the third and proving irresistible all afternoon to continue his
rich vein of form.
“Last year Bobby played well and was a large part in our
success but the goals eluded him. This year they haven’t,” said
“We’re delighted with him. Bobby has never stopped working,
even when he needed a goal.
“I’m getting the best of both worlds now and that’s raising
his status as a player in the country.
“Everyone is taking notice and recognising the things he can
do on the pitch.”