Ferguson pin-points where United's problems began

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Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson thinks his team's troubles started when they conceded against Blackburn.

United beat Sam Allardyce's team 2-1 at Old Trafford but the goal from Roque Santa Cruz brought an end to a run of 14 successive clean sheets.

Since then United have struggled. They were beaten 4-1 at home by title rivals Liverpool and were dismissed by Fulham 2-0 in their next fixture.

Ferguson's team were again out of sorts against Aston Villa but a late rally saw them run out 3-2 winners. It looked like their troubles would be behind them but last night's 2-2 draw at home to Porto makes progress in the Champions League a tall order.

Trying to pin-point the beginning of United's troubles Ferguson recalled: "We were doing very well when we weren't conceding any goals because there was a record to defend. Once we lost that first goal against Blackburn, the battle to try to keep the record had gone. Since then we have lost really bad goals."

United have not been helped by suspensions and injuries and will be desperate to see Rio Ferdinand return for the second-leg in Portugal a week today.