Rio: Forget the transfer window, United have enough quality to win league
Defender Rio Ferdinand insists Manchester United have enough quality to retain the Barclays Premier League title despite a difficult start to the David Moyes era.
Although United cruised to victory in their opening game at Swansea, they were held to a draw by Chelsea at Old Trafford before being beaten by Liverpool at Anfield.
The dust was still settling on that unwanted reverse on Merseyside when the Red Devils plunged themselves into a chaotic transfer deadline day, which, farcically, included three men United knew nothing about reportedly turning up at Spanish league (LFP) headquarters in Madrid attempting to broker a deal for Athletic Bilbao's Ander Herrera.
An 11th-hour attempt to sign Fabio Coentrao on loan from Real Madrid also ended in failure, leaving Moyes and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward to go away and lick their wounds with only the arrival of Marouane Fellaini to console them.
Yet Ferdinand insists belief in the Old Trafford camp remains high.
"We've got a strong enough squad to win everything," the 34-year-old told the London Evening Standard.
"We won the league at a canter last season and we've not become a bad team overnight.
"We believe strongly in what we have got. And anyway, you can't judge the league after three games."
Clearly, though, results immediately after the international break have taken on additional significance, particularly the Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium on September 22.
For if United were to lose there, the gap to the Premier League summit would look very wide.
Prior to that Moyes has his first experience of a Champions League group game against Bayer Leverkusen at Old Trafford.
And it has been confirmed Scotland midfielder Darren Fletcher will play no part in the competition until at least after Christmas.
Earlier in the summer, Fletcher had another operation he hoped would lead to him being able to return to the game following a chronic bowel condition.
Moyes has pledged to give him all the time he needs to recover.
However, there is still no return date in sight for Fletcher, who has been plagued by the problem for more than two years.
And the Scot's omission from the European squad United have submitted to UEFA is not good news.
Also strangely absent was young Belgian Adnan Januzaj, even though a number of United's younger players were included.
As 18-year-old Januzaj is eligible for B list registration, though, he can be added to United's squad anything up to 24 hours before a game.