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By ESPN Staff

Fulham defeat did us a favour, says Ferguson

Sir Alex Ferguson has conceded some of his Manchester United players might have started to believe their own publicity.

United will look to get their Premier League campaign back on track against Aston Villa on Sunday, after successive defeats to Liverpool and Fulham has left them looking vulnerable.

Ferguson is not getting too worried about the situation and feels now is the time for United to 'kick on'.

However, he admitted the growing talk of a quintuple as his side demolished all before them once they returned from their successful Club World Cup trip to Japan may have affected some of the younger members of his squad.

"Everybody likes to read good things about themselves," he said. "It is a natural thing to do so it can affect.

"There are a lot of young players in that dressing room, so maybe the Fulham defeat in particular came at a good time.

"It has got rid of all that nonsense that we are untouchable and unbeatable that I have had to try and dampen down in the last month.

"We have been done a favour. Now we can concentrate on playing football and not reading newspapers."

Ferguson is more concerned about a fixture schedule that forces United to tackle Villa tomorrow at 4pm even though the Red Devils tackle FC Porto in the Champions League quarter-final next Tuesday.

Ferguson did have an option to move the game back. But as Sky TV have the rights to show it live, the only available timeslot today was 12.45pm.

As that would not even give some of his players time to have one training session following this week's World Cup matches, Ferguson decided a Sunday-Tuesday turnaround was the lesser of two evils.

"Somebody has to look at this because the Premier League are not doing it," he said.

"No club should be playing on a Saturday lunchtime after a European tie or internationals. It is crazy, absolutely crazy."

Given Wayne Rooney is suspended and Dimitar Berbatov has been ruled out for another fortnight - potentially ruling him out of both legs of the Porto clash, plus the trip to Sunderland on Easter Saturday - after picking up an ankle injury at Fulham immediately before the international break, Ferguson has made a wise decision.

His only available striker is Carlos Tevez but, having suffered a six-goal mauling with Argentina in Bolivia on Wednesday, he only arrived back in Manchester from South America yesterday evening.

"I think he is coming back from Mars," joked Ferguson.

"With Dimitar out and Wayne suspended hopefully Carlos will be okay. That will give us one striker, then we will have to choose another."

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