Why United can­not af­ford to slip up again to­day

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FOOTBALL - By MIKE COL­LETT

MANCH­ESTER UNITED, no­to­ri­ously slow starters in the race for the English ti­tle, can­not af­ford an­other stum­ble out of the blocks when they make the short trip to Wi­gan Ath­letic to­day.

For the last two sea­sons the Red Devils have won only one of their open­ing four league matches, though they still ended up winning the Premier League.

Af­ter crash­ing to a shock 1-0 de­feat at pro­moted Burn­ley on Wed­nes­day, man­ager Alex Fer­gu­son will not want an­other set­back at Wi­gan to­day – es­pe­cially as United have won all eight league matches be­tween the two clubs since their Lan­cashire ri­vals were pro­moted to the Premier League in 2005-06.

Fer­gu­son took a philo­soph­i­cal view of United's first de­feat to a newly-pro­moted side for four years af­ter Rob­bie Blake's stun­ning vol­ley gave Burn­ley victory in their first top-flight match for 33 years at Turf Moor.

“It is a bad blow to us. I know every­one will say we are never good at the start of the sea­son, we usu­ally take our time and by Oc­to­ber we start to get go­ing, but none­the­less we shouldn't be los­ing th­ese games.”

United have been suf­fer­ing from a spate of in­juries, which has ruled out first choice goal­keeper Ed­win van der Sar as well as cen­tral de­fend­ers Rio Fer­di­nand and Ne­manja Vidic. But the de­feat to Burn­ley, who host Ever­ton on Sun­day, was a big up­set.

Wi­gan will also be looking to bounce back with an im­me­di­ate victory af­ter los­ing 1-0 at home to pro­moted Wolver­hamp­ton Wan­der­ers on Tues­day night.

New coach Roberto Martinez was crit­i­cal of their per­for­mance against Wolves, es­pe­cially af­ter they made a good start to the sea­son with a 2-0 win at As­ton Villa last Satur­day.

“We were sloppy, we didn't have en­ergy, we couldn't get hold of the game and Wolves took ad­van­tage,” he said. – Reuters

Alex Fer­gu­son

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