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Rio Ferdinand issues rallying call to Man Utd squad

By Bill Wilson
BBC News

Rio Ferdinand
Ferdinand has been out injured since early February

Rio Ferdinand has urged Manchester United to lift their game after a recent run of poor form.

Since the team's lacklustre 1-0 FA Cup victory over non-league Crawley Town last month, United have a record of won one, drawn one and lost two.

"Chelsea and Liverpool, they were difficult games, they were never going to be easy," Ferdinand told the BBC.

"We have now got to distance ourselves from those and look to our future games," the centre-back added.

The Old Trafford club lost 2-1 to Chelsea and 3-1 to Liverpool, games Ferdinand missed because of a calf injury and is unlikely to be risked in Saturday's FA Cup showdown with Arsenal.

United are hoping that the game against the Gunners will provide a timely boost ahead of next Tuesday's Champions League second leg against Marseille, but Ferdinand is just one member of a lengthy injury list.

Also on the treatment table are Nani (shin), Anderson (knee) and Jonny Evans (foot), along with longer-term absentees Antonio Valencia (ankle), Owen Hargreaves (knee), Michael Owen (groin), and Park Ji-Sung (hamstring).

"No-one really got 'off the leash' in that game

Rio Ferdinand

With centre-back Nemaja Vidic suspended and other players in poor form - Dimitar Berbatov has not scored in his last seven outings for the club - the team has appeared to lack the self-belief which saw them unbeaten in the Premier League until they lost 2-1 to Wolves on 5 February.

Ferdinand has refused to set a date for his return to the team.

"I am just trying to get fit, my manager is the one who will say when I come back," he said, at an energy saving project backed the sponsors of the FA Cup.

Looking ahead to the game against Marseille, the England international described the French club as a "decent side" following their performance in the 0-0 first-leg encounter.

"No-one really got 'off the leash' in that game and we hope things will be different when they come to our place," he added.

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see also
Manchester United v Arsenal
12 Mar 11 |  FA Cup
Ferguson slams Carragher tackle
11 Mar 11 |  Man Utd
Ferguson blanks media after match
06 Mar 11 |  Man Utd
Liverpool 3-1 Manchester United
06 Mar 11 |  Premier League
Ferguson set to contest FA charge
04 Mar 11 |  Man Utd
Chelsea 2-1 Man Utd
01 Mar 11 |  Premier League
Ferdinand sidelined for two weeks
05 Feb 11 |  Man Utd

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