'No worries. Defeat can be a good thing' says Ferguson

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"There is no need for over-reaction," said Sir Alex Ferguson after Manchester United's defeat at Southend last night. "There are no suicides, no mass sackings, no need for counselling, but maybe a little bit of recrimination.

"Defeat doesn't harm anyone provided they can improve from the experience. [It can be good] for players like Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo, who have not experienced much in their lives.

"There's not a lot wrong. We've lost three matches this season, all 1-0, but it is a great reminder for everybody at our club that things can smack you in the face and I'm not impervious to that. There's no need to go overboard about it. We need to have a think about what happened," he added.

Steve Tilson, the Southend manager, admitted that when he saw the Manchester United team sheet he had thought: "How many can we keep it down to? Can we put in a good performance and keep the scoreline respectable?"

Tilson, who was working on a building site when Ferguson arrived at Old Trafford in 1986, added: "I thought Ronaldo and Rooney would be on the bench. It's great that they played. It means so much more than beating a reserve team.

"In these games the players can freeze. I was worried about losing four, five, six-nil and going into our next game [at Preston] on the back of it as our League position isn't good. Now I hope we can use this to kick-start our season."

Tilson added: "It was a great performance. I didn't feel we were ever really under the cosh. To keep a clean sheet was really pleasing. Darryl Flahavan made a couple of good saves."

Ferguson was more effusive about the goalkeeper, describing him as "magnificent". Flahavan briefly left Southend a few years ago after being affected by the death in a car crash of his brother Aaron, who was playing for Portsmouth.

He returned and has been a regular but was at fault for the opening goal in Saturday's defeat at Wolverhampton Wanderers. "That could have played on his mind, but he was excellent," Tilson said.