Reading 3 Man United 4: It’s the worst we’ve been this season – Ferguson
Reading 3 Man United 4: Sir Alex Ferguson bemoans the Red Devils' worst defensive display of the season despite beating the Royals
Sir Alex Ferguson admitted it was Manchester United’s worst defensive performance of the season after edging a seven-goal thriller at Reading on Saturday.
The visitors fell behind when Hal Robson-Kanu fired past United goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard before Anderson’s powerful close-range finish and Wayne Rooney’s penalty put the Red Devils in front after a blistering opening 16 minutes.
However the Royals, who had won just once this term, move into the lead again after Adam Le Fondre and Sean Morrison both scored headers from corners in a four-minute spell following poor United defending.
But Rooney’s second of the game and Robin Van Persie’s clinical 34th-minute finish left United 4-3 ahead, and the 19-time English champions hung on to cement first position in the Premier League.
“I thought it was going to be a record score in the Premier League at half-time,” Ferguson told ESPN.
“It was unbelievable. It was really bad defending and the worst we’ve been this season. We need to sort that out. Every time the ball came near our box you were just praying!
“We never competed for a cross, but in fairness to Reading they have great deliverers of the ball – [Nicky] Shorey whips in fantastic crosses.
“But we should have been doing better. We could have been battered today, but thankfully we are always scoring goals and that is rescuing us every time.”
He added: “We brought Chris Smalling on which made a big difference in terms of height and defending their set pieces, though they didn’t get as many in the second half.
“We should have finished the game off with some of the opportunities that we had and it should have been 5-3 at half-time when the ball was over the line from Robin’s shot. In the first half, I said to myself that it would be a miracle if we win this one. I’m just glad that we did.