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Page last updated at 21:13 GMT, Saturday, 19 December 2009

Sir Alex Ferguson admits fear over Man Utd title chance

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson
Ferguson feels his players are "feeling sorry for themselves"

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson hopes his injury-hit side's 3-0 defeat at Fulham will not signal the end of their title defence.

A fifth league loss this season means United stay three points behind leaders Chelsea, who face West Ham on Sunday.

"I hope today is not too damaging. I hope it doesn't cost us the league," the 67-year-old Ferguson told MUTV.

"We have to get our defenders back to give us a proper chance of going for the league."

United were without seven defenders, including Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, for the game at Craven Cottage.

"If we get them back we'll be back in it," added Ferguson. "The quicker they're back the better.

"The medical team and physios are working overtime to get them back, but 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 three-man defence consisting of midfielders Michael Carrick and Darren Fletcher alongside 21-year-old Ritchie De Laet.


Fulham capitalised with goals from Danny Murphy, Bobby Zamora and Damien Duff to complete their second home triumph over United in as many meetings.

The champions have already suffered one more defeat than they did in capturing a third successive Premier League title last season.

"There was a fragility at the back and we couldn't do anything about that," said Ferguson. "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.

"It was a terribly soft goal for the first one, and that gave them the platform to build on.

"To concede 20 seconds into the second half killed the game. We didn't anticipate that. And 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. It was a difficult day for us.

"But the quality of the football wasn't as good as it normally is. The fragile nature of the players at the back, with midfielders playing in defence, has left them feeling sorry for themselves a bit."

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see also
Fulham 3-0 Manchester United
19 Dec 09 |  Premier League
Saturday football as it happened
19 Dec 09 |  Football

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