Ferguson adamant over United's title hopes
Sir Alex Ferguson has claimed it would be 'ridiculous' to count Manchester United out of the Premier League title race just yet.
By Ferguson's own admission, the Red Devils have endured a nightmare start to their championship defence, netting just two points from their opening three games, scoring just once in the process.
It is a complete contrast to their flying start 12 months ago and having already slipped behind all their major rivals, some pundits are already suggesting United will not win the league this season.
However, while Ferguson accepts results have not been what he hoped for, the Scot is confident his side will soon be forcing their way back into contention, starting with a win over Tottenham at Old Trafford tomorrow.
'It is ridiculous to suggest we are out of the title race already because, let's face it, we are only three games into the season,' he said.
'I have certainly not lost faith in what we can do and we will change things around.
'The players have not enjoyed this nightmare. They know our rivals must be rubbing their hands and they are determined to do something about it.'
With Louis Saha likely to be on the bench and Brazil international Anderson pencilled in for his first start alongside Carlos Tevez in attack, Ferguson's early season injury problems are starting to ease.
Rumours of a move for Tottenham hit-man Dimitar Berbatov are likely to persist until the transfer window closes on August 31 but the forceful rebuttal of chief executive David Gill to renewed speculation that a bid had been made for the Bulgarian - who will miss tomorrow's clash with an ankle problem - suggests no deal is likely.
Instead, Ferguson will stick with a squad which has so far produced a significantly high level of performance, without being able to collect the results to match.
'I think you have to trust the players,' reflected Wes Brown, who will continue at right-back in the absence of injured skipper Gary Neville.
'If we were in this situation and not playing well maybe you have to look a bit deeper.
'But we have been playing good football, we have just not managed to put the ball in the net.'
Born and bred in Manchester, last week's derby-day loss to City hurt Brown more than most.
He has still not replied to the more sarcastic texts he received from Blue-supporting friends and still struggles to believe United did not emerge victorious.
'We could have beaten them by six,' he said.
'We pressurised them for most of the game but missed some really good chances and somehow they managed to keep us out.
'That kind of thing happens sometimes. All you can do is hold your hands up, try to do the same things in the next game and think a bit more positively about putting the ball in the net.'
Like his manager, Brown has insisted no-one at United should be getting too concerned about the present situation.
Not only is the England defender confident the Red Devils will turn the situation around, he also feels early evidence points to the so-called big four dropping more points this term than they have in previous years.
'Don't get me wrong, we don't want to be this far behind Chelsea already but no-one is too worried at the moment,' he said.
'As the season has gone on in previous years, we have always come back into it.
'I know it is easy for me to say that but history proves it has happened and it can happen again.
'I also think the middle ranking teams will take more points off the top four. There are a lot of teams now who have built up their squads and, as we have found out already, they will definitely give problems to the bigger teams.'