Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has said the defender Rio Ferdinand has just experienced his best season for the club since signing from Leeds United for £ 30 million several years ago. Ferdinand has been a major reason in Manchester United claiming their 20th league title this season. They are on course to finishing more than 10 points above their arch rivals Manchester city in the table. The 34-year-old defender was widely viewed as a past material due to his numerous fitness problems in recent years. However, he has been a rock in the centre of defence for United in the absence of Nemanja Vidic.
He has formed a great partnership with youngster Jonny Evans. Even though United struggled to keep clean sheets in the first half of the season, they have been quite brilliant in defence in the second half. This led to the 34-year-old being named in the PFA team of the year. Ferguson has recalled how Ferdinand has managed to stay fit despite his age, and how his presence has helped the team overcome the injuries in defence. The future of the former West Ham and Leeds United man is under major doubt since his contract comes to an end in a few months time.
However, Ferguson has confirmed that he will be offered new deal.
“Rio Ferdinand has had his best season at the club. We have had continual problems with the centre-backs being fit. Nemanja Vidic has missed half a season, Chris Smalling has missed most of the season, Phil Jones missed a good bit and Jonny Evans missed parts but Rio has managed his situation very well. I don’t think there is any reason to think differently. I hope he will stay and I think he will too,” said Ferguson to the BBC.
Saturday’s late kick off in the FA Cup Fourth Round sees eleven times winners Manchester United face 1975 runners-up Fulham at Old Trafford.
The hosts are unbeaten in their last ten games in all competitions, as they aim to emulate the success of fourteen years ago, and complete a Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup treble.
They did however need a replay to get past West Ham United after the original tie finished 2-2 at Upton Park earlier this month.
United will be without injured duo Ashley Young and Jonny Evans though Nani, Anderson and Shinji Kagawa could all be included after recently returning to fitness.
Robin Van Persie has 22 goals for the season, and is the 3.75 (11/4) favourite to open the scoring, while Wayne Rooney is a 4.5 (7/2) shot with most bookmakers.
1.3 (3/10) is the best price available for the home win, with Fulham as highly priced as 12.0 (11/1). The draw is on offer at 6.0 (5/1).
Fulham have just two wins from their last fifteen league games, and were also taken to a replay in the third round, eventually beating Blackpool after extra-time at Bloomfield Road.
The visitors will be without former Manchester United player Keiran Richardson, who along with Kerim Frei and Mahamadou Diarra are side-line through injury.
Dimitar Berbatov is set to face his old club, and the Bulgarian is 13.0 (12/1) to get the first goal of the game, whilst you can back him at 5.0 (4/1) to score at any time.
Rio Ferdinand has said that Manchester United have been extremely bad in terms of their defensive performance this season after allowing more than 25 goals so far this campaign. This has been a strange season for Manchester United, as they have let in a lot of goals in matches. Even though Manchester United have been able to get more than 24 points from losing positions, Ferdinand has said that the defensive performance of the team is simply not good enough to be called as champions. Manchester United recently conceded three more goals on Boxing Day against Newcastle United, but managed to score four at the other end to win the match 4-3.
It could have easily been two more dropped points for the team after the 1-1 draw with Swansea during the weekend. As a result of the victory, Manchester United maintained their seven-point advantage at the top of the table over archrivals city. Despite the significant advantage, Ferdinand believes that the title race is far from over yet. This is because there are still numerous games left in the Premier league. The future of the 34-year-old has been under major scrutiny in recent weeks, but the return of Nemanja Vidic is expected to help him form the partnership that was crucial in numerous title victories over the years.
“When you’re conceding goals at any level, you want to stop it. We’ve let in far too many goals and need to change that. We have to make a big effort to push on from a good position. If we’re going to maintain where we are, we have to sort ourselves out. We seem to make sure the punters get their money’s worth when they come to the ground at the moment,” said the United defender Ferdinand, who has made 15 appearances so far.
The Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has been termed as extremely lucky after he survived the prospect of losing his eyesight following a coin throwing incident that left him with a severe cut just above his eye. The defender was celebrating his team taking the lead in the final minutes of the match in the recent 3-2 victory over Manchester city. Robin van Persie’s deflected goal helped United win all three points from this match, but they were extremely lucky to have Ferdinand with his eyesight intact. The player was celebrating along with his teammates when he was hit by a coin.
The Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson condemned the incident by saying that it was not necessary for a match of this magnitude. He has said that other than this incident, it was a good-natured duel between the two teams. As a result of this victory, United now open a six-point advantage between themselves and archrivals Manchester city, who remain in the second position. The match also saw a fan running onto the pitch before being stopped by the Manchester city goalkeeper Joe Hart. He has also expressed his regret at the incident through a legal statement. He has confirmed that he will be making a personal apology to Ferdinand.
“I don’t think you need that. Two fantastic teams today, I think, and a fantastic game of football and it could do without that,” said Ferguson after the match.” I am extremely ashamed of my action. I have let myself down, my family down, my fellow fans down and Manchester City Football Club. I intend to write personally to Mr. Ferdinand to express my extreme regret and apologies,” said the youngster who ran onto the pitch after the final whistle. Wayne Rooney scored the other two goals for United.