Vidic eager to cut out costly errors at back and put United on glory trail
Published 28/09/2010 | 05:00
Nemanja Vidic has told his Manchester United team-mates to cut out the defensive lapses that are wrecking their Premier League title campaign.
Defeats for Chelsea and Arsenal on Saturday should have been the start of a perfect weekend for United, who would have moved to within a point of Carlo Ancelotti's men if they had beaten Bolton at the Reebok Stadium.
Instead, the problems which are proving so difficult to eradicate reared their heads again.
A combination of slack marking by Jonny Evans and Patrice Evra moving away from the post he was supposed to be defending allowed Zat Knight to put Bolton ahead.
Then, after Nani had scored a brilliant equaliser, the visitors offered Martin Petrov far too much room to cut inside Park Ji-sung to drive home a second.
In the end, United were lucky to have the chance of settling for a point, given that Johan Elmander blasted a brilliant opportunity over the bar which surely would have given Bolton victory.
Yet, while Michael Owen's third goal in a week ensured United did not make the short journey back home empty-handed, the brutal truth is that they have now conceded nine goals in five Premier League games.
Even basement boys Everton have done better than that, while Alex Ferguson's men are still to record an away win in three attempts.
"It is a big concern that we are conceding so many away goals," said Vidic. "We have to stop doing it. We cannot let it happen again."
It hardly seems believable that the same defenders responsible for the present malaise should have conceded just 22 and 24 goals respectively during the entire Premier League title-winning campaigns of 2008 and 2009.
Rio Ferdinand's absence is not helping but he was also missing when United went 14 games without conceding a goal during the mid-winter of the 2008-09 campaign that also included a trip to Japan for the Club World Cup.
"Over the last few years we haven't given that many goals away or even allowed them so many chances," Vidic added.
"Before we have always looked strong, so this is not what we are used to. We have to play much better in our away games."
United go to Valencia tomorrow needing to breathe fresh life into their Champions League campaign before visiting Sunderland on Saturday.
Ferdinand is expected to be back for the Spain trip, but Antonio Valencia's long-term injury and a two-week absence for Ryan Giggs denies Ferguson the option of using Wayne Rooney as a lone striker flanked by two wingers, as he did so effectively last term.