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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Aug 21, 2009

No more signings for United

Sir Alex Ferguson retains total faith in his Manchester United squad despite a dismal start to their Premier League title defence.

United struggled to make their dominance tell in a single-goal opening-day victory over Birmingham and fared even worse at Burnley on Wednesday as Michael Carrick missed a penalty in what turned out to be a shock 1-0 defeat.

The Red Devils' slumbers have led some to suggest Ferguson might abandon his previous intention not to make any further signings this summer and make a concerted effort to lure one of Valencia's highly-rated duo David Villa or David Silva to Old Trafford.

Yet Ferguson insists he has had no such thoughts.

The Scot accepts his team cannot afford many more slip-ups during the opening weeks of the season.

However, he is confident his current group can pull the situation around.

"I made the point - and I am sure of it. This is a great group of players,'' said Ferguson.

"Yes, we would like to score goals. Last season was our poorest goal difference for 15 years. It was an issue.

"We have to step up to the mark and I am quite confident we can do that. We will win games.''

United need the trend to begin at Wigan tomorrow.

In fairness to the Red Devils, they have never previously experienced much trouble overcoming the Latics.

Nine previous meetings have yielded nine straight wins, including the 2005 Carling Cup Final and victories in the last two years which in the first instance won a title and in the second took them to the very brink of another.

Nothing can be taken for granted though, despite the fact United have tended to be slow-starters down the years.

"In a way, part of our history is that we have dropped points early in the season,'' said Ferguson.

"Our starts in the last two or three years have been a bit topsy turvy. But it is not just Manchester United, it is throughout the league. You only have Tottenham and Chelsea with two wins.''

Ferguson omitted to mention both Arsenal - who visit Old Trafford next Saturday - and big-spending Manchester City have only played one game so far.

Still, after drawing opening home matches against Reading and Newcastle - both of whom subsequently went on to get relegated - there is no need for immediate panic, just a sense of focus.

"We do not enjoy losing but it has happened before and it will happen again,'' he said.

"The issue now, as it always is at this club when you have a bad defeat, is what are you going to do about it?

"The great thing is that we have only have to wait four days.

"We can be philosophical but there is a certain reality too.

"You cannot lose too many games in this league and we have already lost one.''

Ferguson seems likely to recall Dimitar Berbatov, as well as Antonio Valencia, who is certain to feature against his former club after making the £17million move to Old Trafford this summer.

Changes are also expected in midfield, with Darren Fletcher among those expected to be recalled, while Michael Carrick must decide whether to continue as penalty-taker after failing with his first attempt at Turf Moor, a miss that ultimately proved pivotal.

It is at the back where early-season injuries have bitten the deepest though.

Nemanja Vidic, Gary Neville and Rio Ferdinand have all suffered problems, although there is good news about the former duo, both of whom are expected to start tomorrow.

However, it appears the damage Ferdinand sustained to his thigh in training last week is slightly more extensive than first thought.

Originally, Ferguson said he expected his £29.1million defender to be back in action within a fortnight.

Now the timescale has changed to between "three and four weeks''.

It means Ferdinand will not only miss the visit of Arsenal but almost certainly England's friendly with Slovenia on September 5 and the crucial World Cup qualifier against Croatia at Wembley four days later.

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