Manchester United 'cavalier attitude' must stop warns Alex Ferguson

Sir Alex Ferguson has warned his Manchester United players to abandon the "cavalier attitude" that has crept into their game - otherwise they will not win the Premier League.

Ferguson was bewildered by his players' approach against Basle in midweek when United conceded three goals in the second half and were lucky not to lose before scoring an equaliser to make it 3-3 in the last minute.

At least Ferguson will be able to pick from a stronger squad when Norwich visit tomorrow, with Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez and Jonny Evans all back from injury, but the United manager's over-riding message is about cutting out defensive carelessness.

He told a news conference at United's Carrington training ground: "The way we are playing at the moment there's a cavalier attitude to it.

"Maybe people enjoy it but it certainly doesn't win leagues so we have to do better defensively.

"People say our performance on Tuesday was careless and we underestimated our opponents and maybe there's an element of truth in that. I certainly wasn't happy, even in the first half I could smell we were too relaxed and we could have lost three goals in the first half."

Ferguson pointed out that when Basle scored their second goal, a header by Alexander Frei, United had only one player in the penalty area challenging the striker.

He added: "We were too cavalier. On the second goal for instance we had only one defender in the penalty box. Patrice Evra was out wide tracking the boy who crossed it, Fabio was playing outside right, Phil Jones was in centre midfield. There was only Rio Ferdinand in the penalty box.

"I know it was a fantastic cross but it's an unfair advantage to only have one defender in the penalty box.

"We have to balance attack and defence and that's why it's called a team. A team functions in all parts, understanding each other's parts and we're too cavalier at the moment."

Ferguson is anxious for his players not to underestimate Paul Lambert's Norwich tomorrow despite the lack of star players in the Canaries squad.

Lambert played for Borussia Dortmund when the Bundesliga side knocked United out of the Champions League in the 1997 semi-finals and went on to become European champions, and Ferguson said his fellow Scot had learned much from his time in Germany.

"Norwich have made a terrific start. You look at Norwich and see full houses every week. There's something happening down there, a vibrancy about the place," said the United manager. "I remember Paul as a kid at St Mirren and the next time he faced me, he was at Dortmund when we played the Champions League semi-final.

"He's one of the few Scotsmen to win a European medal outside a Scottish team. He learned everything there.

"He's started out well at Norwich, they're playing with a great sense of purpose and you can see progress every week. It's been a good move for the lad."

Ferguson hopes to have Nemanja Vidic, Tom Cleverly and Chris Smalling back from their injuries after the international break but admits that for Vidic and Cleverly particularly the Liverpool game on October 15 may come too soon.

"Vida and Tom will need to do a lot of good training to be considered for that sort of match," he said.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?