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.

Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
News
Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
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

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick