Photo: Andrea Sartorati
Sir Alex Ferguson admits he is mystified by Manchester United’s ongoing defensive calamities, despite another thrilling Champions League comeback at Old Trafford.Javier Hernàndez, the Mexican who was in danger of becoming United’s spare-part striker, issued a timely reminder of his lethal finishing skills to spare his defenders’ embarrassment in the 3-2 win over Braga.
Ferguson said Hernàndez’s performance had given him a “nice problem” ahead of the weekend Premier League meeting with Chelsea.
But the worries continue at the back, as Johnny Evans and makeshift centre-half Michael Carrick were culpable for United’s conceding of two early goals.
“We can produce these exciting games OK, but I can’t understand our defending,” said Ferguson. “It’s making it difficult for us. I can’t get to the bottom of it, I’m afraid.
“If you analyse the goals we are losing they are all different types. Players were left free in the box tonight. We are not having a good start in games, that’s for sure. It’s interesting it’s in the home games we are losing the early goals, but we will sort it. I’m sure of that.
Hernàndez stole the show with his two goals, shrugging off the disappointment of falling down the United pecking order since the signing of Robin van Persie.
“The boy is improving all the time,” said Ferguson. “He is a fantastic trainer and he has given me a nice problem in that his goal ratio is fantastic. For his second goal he gets around the defender at the back post and his movement is terrific after a great ball from [Tom] Cleverley.”
United are on the brink of comfortable qualification, a reassuring contrast to last season’s woes. However, they suffered injury problems, Shinji Kagawa limping off early. “He twisted his knee and we had to take him off at half-time,” said Ferguson. “We will assess it in the morning but it’s too early to say what damage if any.
“Anders Lindegaard also hurt his thumb in training but he should be OK in a week, but not for Sunday.”
Last night was the first time since United won the trophy in 1999 that they came back to win from 2-0 down in the Champions League. “I hope it’s a good omen,” said Ferguson.
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