Sport | Football

Ferguson troubled by fightbacks

Manchester United boss bemoans team’s inability to score first goal

  • AFP
  • Published: 15:27 November 25, 2012
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: AP
  • Manchester United’s Darren Fletcher celebrates after scoring against Queens Park Rangers during their English Premier League match at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Manchester, United Kingdom: Alex Ferguson admitted Manchester United’s tendency to fall behind in games is a major concern after his side launched another impressive comeback to beat Queens Park Rangers 3-1.

For the ninth time in 13 league games this season, United trailed to Harry Redknapp’s new club following an early second-half goal from Jamie Mackie at Old Trafford on Saturday.

But United responded superbly, with three goals in eight minutes from Jonny Evans, Darren Fletcher and Javier Hernandez meaning that Ferguson’s side have now claimed 18 points from losing positions this season.

“Of course it’s frustrating,” said United manager Ferguson.

“We have to be concerned about it. The one thing was, from the moment when we scored (the first goal), we really got at them and played with a great determination and speed, which made a difference.

“We played for 15 or 10 minutes — that was the sum total of a real performance from Manchester United.”

Victory took United to the top of the Premier League, for 24 hours at least, with champions Manchester City playing Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

The game was also a huge landmark for midfielder Fletcher, who has fought back from a career-threatening bowel disease.

His goal, his first in the league since October 2011, came on his first league start in a year and marked an emotional moment for the popular Scotland international.

“I think everyone is delighted,” said Ferguson.

“It’s been a long road back for him. It’s the first time we have used him twice in a week and he didn’t let us down again.

“Of course it was lovely to have him back, and we will view the situation on Wednesday, but he made a great contribution today.”

Fletcher will have to wait to discover if he keeps his place for that Wednesday fixture, at home to West Ham United, but he said the team’s come-from-behind victory was more important than personal landmarks.

“It was a nice moment,” said Fletcher. “Just playing the games are great moments, all the games I’ve played in this season.

“I’m desperate to be part of it and the more games I get, the more I want to feel part of it, be involved and contribute to what hopefully will be a successful season.

“It’s not great going behind all the time but the positive is that we keep coming back. We can’t allow it to happen but you could see when we went behind we lifted the urgency in our game. It should not take a goal to do that.

“The biggest thing is the goal put us in the lead - it was nothing about me personally, just the fact we won the game.

“It was great coming back, great scoring a goal and good to be winning games. When we went a goal behind, I thought ‘Here we go’, but the lads responded. And the biggest, most pleasing thing is the goal put us 2-1 up.”

Redknapp watched from the stands but the job of team selection was left to Mark Bowen — former assistant to the sacked Mark Hughes — who admits he does not know what the future holds for him or the existing coaching staff.

“I haven’t spoken to Harry. He didn’t have any input today,” said Bowen.

“Friday (when Hughes was sacked) was a desperate day because, apart from anything else, Mark is a friend of mine.

“When I spoke to (chief executive) Philip Beard, I just said to him, ‘We are professionals and we will carry on. We are still employed by this club.’

“I don’t know what will happen now. I haven’t spoken to Harry yet. Harry will have his own plans and we just have to wait and see what happens next.”

Gulf News
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