Fergie expects United to recover from Burnley blow
22 August 2009 02:18
LONDON (AFP) - Sir Alex Ferguson expects Manchester United to erase the memory of one of the most embarrassing league defeats in the club's history when the Premier League champions face Wigan on Saturday.
Ferguson's team were humbled by Burnley on Wednesday as the promoted minnows claimed a famous 1-0 victory at Turf Moor thanks to Robbie Blake's superb finish.
It was a chastening experience for United's superstars, who have made a slow start to the season as they adjust to life without Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez.
With Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand and Edwin van der Sar all sidelined through injury, there was a makeshift look to United's defence in midweek that gave Burnley a glimmer of hope which they gleefully exploited.
Wigan will hope to do the same at the DW Stadium but Ferguson is confident his players will be determined to bounce back.
"Our players are all disappointed, it was a bad result for us. But I'm sure we'll get a response on Saturday at Wigan," Ferguson said.
"We were too frivolous with the chances we had. But hopefully we get as many on Saturday."
Chelsea's 100 percent start under new boss Carlo Ancelotti will get a stern test on Sunday at Fulham, whose home record last season made Craven Cottage into a daunting venue for even the big four.
The Blues, having come from behind to beat Hull and Sunderland already this term, look in dominant form however and midfielder Frank Lampard is keen for his team to set the pace in the title race.
"It's a long way to go in the League and it's just a good start," Lampard said. "Of course you want to get your noses in front early on and if we can get a good start and not have the mid-season we had last year then we'll have a great chance."
While Chelsea have made a fast start, Liverpool, who host Aston Villa on Monday, are still making lost ground after their opening weekend defeat at Tottenham.
Rafael Benitez's side responded to the Tottenham loss with a 4-0 rout of Stoke on Wednesday that served as a rebuke to spectics who claimed the Reds were still short of title-winning quality.
One of the stars of that victory was England right-back Glen Johnson, who marked his home debut with a goal.
"At a club like Liverpool you don't want to lose any match, so to lose the first game of the season was disappointing," Johnson said.
"But the lads showed great character to put that behind us and hopefully we can go on a good run now."
No team in England has confounded the critics more than Arsenal.
Arsene Wenger's team, who take on struggling Portsmouth at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, were widely written off after the close-season departures of Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure.
Yet Wenger's youthful squad are more harmonious now Adebayor and Toure - two combustable personalities - have left.
A stunning 6-1 victory over Everton was followed by Tuesday's Champions League play-off victory at Celtic and Gunners goalkeeper Manuel Almunia admits the improved morale has made all the difference.
"We have a better relationship with each other and, if the dressing room works, then, on the pitch, the team works as well," Almunia said.
"Everybody comes into the dressing room with a better mood. It's true that this season we don't have any trouble or any problems inside and we appreciate that."
Elsewhere, table-topping Tottenham will look to maintain their best start to a season for 44 years when they play London rivals West Ham at Upton Park on Sunday.
Saturday (1400GMT unless stated)
Arsenal v Portsmouth, Birmingham v Stoke, Hull v Bolton, Man City v Wolves, Sunderland v Blackburn, Wigan v Man Utd
Burnley v Everton, Fulham v Chelsea (1500GMT), West Ham v Tottenham (1230GMT)
Liverpool v Aston Villa (1900GMT)