SAF: Unbeaten United must improve

Published Nov. 19, 2010 1:16 p.m. EST

It is one of the quirks of a crazy Premier League campaign that the Red Devils are yet to suffer a defeat, yet lie only third in the table. The reason is obvious. Far too many draws. Indeed, United have finished level in more matches this term than they have actually won. Not that Ferguson was complaining at Villa Park last weekend when, by his own admission, United could have been six goals adrift before they launched one of their famous comebacks to earn a share of the spoils and deny Gerard Houllier's men a deserved triumph. Yet there have been times this term, notably at Fulham and Everton, when the Red Devils have been on the wrong end of a thrilling finale. They conceded a late equaliser at Craven Cottage after Nani had missed a penalty that surely would have sealed all three points, whilst at Goodison Park United were two goals ahead as the match entered stoppage time and still did not win. Ferguson regards Bolton as another place where victory was thrown away, although given the Trotters are now fifth - and twice took the lead at the Reebok Stadium - that may be stretching a point. "People make a story about us being undefeated, but we've thrown points away," Ferguson told Key 103. "Last week we stole one, so maybe that balances itself out. "But we are still angry at ourselves at losing late goals. We have got this great record of scoring late goals, but we have suffered from it on the opposite side this season." Ferguson will keep a close eye on Rio Ferdinand, who came off at half-time in England's defeat to France on Wednesday after feeling a tightness in his hamstring. There is also a doubt over Chris Smalling, who returned from his first call-up with the English senior squad with some discomfort in his groin. Despite their impressive record against Saturday's opponents United will be taking nothing for granted against an inconsistent Wigan side whose campaign includes an away win at Tottenham and a recent draw with Liverpool. "They are a capable side, who seem to be turning the corner in terms of consistency," said Ferguson. "Roberto Martinez gets the rewards himself by sticking to his philosophy, which is good. "It shows he has strong management and his players now believe in it too."