• Premier League

United have taken two steps back, says Ferguson

ESPN staff
October 27, 2014
Should manchester United celebrate getting a point at home?

Sir Alex Ferguson says Manchester United have taken "one step forward and two steps back" this season as injuries have left their defence vulnerable.

The former manager, speaking in London to promote the release of his updated autobiography, claimed the team are due a break and reiterated his faith in Louis van Gaal's leadership.

Ferguson, after United drew 1-1 with Chelsea at Old Trafford on Sunday, said: "It's been a bit of one step forward and two back. It's been difficult with injuries. I got told the team today at 3pm, and Phil Jones is injured again.

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"I said, 'Are we going to get a break here?'. If the back four doesn't play consistently together then you aren't going to get results.

"People keep saying 'you're fragile at the back', and that's understandable. But these boys need time to adapt, Luke Shaw and Marcos Rojo are still young men.

Lamenting United's injury woes during Van Gaal's embryonic tenure, Ferguson said once he settles on a regular back-four the club will progress quickly.

"He has that philosophy, stubbornness and determination to succeed, I've got every faith he will be a success,'' Ferguson said. "I have absolute faith that he's the right man for the job.

"Once he can get people fit and a settled, regular back-four, then that's the first route to progress."

Ferguson has seemed a more relaxed figure since retiring as manager of United last year but he was upset about the way his legacy was blamed for the club's failings under David Moyes.

"It is an insult to say that I left an ageing squad,'' Ferguson said. "Chelsea have seven players over 30 but nobody talks about them being an old team.

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"It is easy to defend myself against all of that because all the statistics are there. He [Moyes] should have kept Mike Phelan, he was a United man; loyal, hard-working and a good judge of the players.

"My advice to David was that he should maybe keep Phelan. I was always supportive of David, whenever he called I gave him the advice I would have wanted when I was manager.

"But David will do well in the future: life doesn't end when you leave United.''

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