Thursday 05 January 2012
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson insists his team can cope with the challenge of winning the Barclays Premier League despite defeat at Newcastle on Wednesday.
The champions were well below their best as they slipped to a 3-0 loss at the Sports Direct Arena, with Demba Ba and Yohan Cabaye scoring for the Magpies before a Phil Jones own goal wrapped it up.
Ferguson's side have now lost their last two matches in the League after a shock 3-2 reverse against bottom club Blackburn at Old Trafford in their previous fixture.
"Losing a match at this time of the year can sometimes happen"
- Sir Alex Ferguson
And with Manchester City beating Liverpool 3-0 on Tuesday, that leaves United three points adrift of their neighbours going into the FA Cup third round tie between the two teams at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
"It's advantage to them, of course," said Ferguson. "They won, we lost. But it's not a time to panic, we've got the experience and the patience to cope.
"Losing a match at this time of year can sometimes happen. We need to get the show on the road for the run-in, particularly for March and April, because they are key months."
The Red Devils have been plagued by injury problems all season, but Ferguson is hopeful that the return of some of their senior players will enable United to get stronger as the season progresses.
"The plus is that we had two or three players back tonight and hopefully we have one or two on the road back, and that will make a difference."
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew, meanwhile, could not hide his elation after watching a magnificent team performance, as they moved to within a point of Liverpool in sixth in the Barclays Premier League.
"We won because we controlled the game and we didn't let them play, and it was a really great victory for us," said Pardew.
"We had some outstanding performances individually, and physically and aerially we had the advantage. We beat the champions 3-0 and we probably deserved that scoreline."