Football - Rio makes a case for the defence

Rio Ferdinand has demanded Manchester United sort their defensive problems out before they start to eat away at their season.

PA Sport

Though United's 4-3 victory over Newcastle allowed them to open up a massive seven-point lead on Manchester City at the top of the Premier League, conceding another three goals at Old Trafford drew more anxious words from Sir Alex Ferguson.

Incredibly, the Red Devils have now conceded 28 goals this season, only five fewer than QPR who are presently languishing at the foot of the table.

To put that into context, at the half way point of the campaign, they have now exceeded the number of goals they conceded in three of their most recent title-winning seasons - 2007, 2008 and 2009.

In all competitions, that figure now stands at 40, during which time they have kept just four clean sheets. In addition, they have now gone behind 16 times, 11 of which have ended in victories.

They are quite shuddering statistics. And everyone in the United camp admits they must be corrected.

"We are concerned," said Ferdinand. "When you are conceding goals at any level you want to put it to a stop.

"This season we have let in far too many goals and we need to change that.

"We need to make a big effort now to push on. We are in a good position but if we are to maintain where we are, we need to sort ourselves out."

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