Fergie Bemoans Defending after Liverpool Draw
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was critical of Ryan Giggs after the veteran winger left the wall to allow Liverpool to score at Anfield on Saturday.
Substitute Javier Hernandez preserved United's unbeaten start to the campaign with a late equalizer in a 1-1 draw at Anfield.
But Ferguson, who had made the surprise decision to start with leading scorer Wayne Rooney on the substitutes bench, was clearly frustrated with his team's defending which allowed Steven Gerrard to give Liverpool the lead.
Giggs was guilty of leaving the wall as the Liverpool captain marked his first start for seven months after injury with a sublime free-kick goal.
"It was very difficult," said Ferguson, who questioned whether the free-kick should have been given in the first place after Rio Ferdinand was alleged to have brought down Charlie Adam.
"The referee is under a lot of pressure and I'm not surprised they got the free-kick.
"But we have got to defend better. It's exactly the same as last season. The wide players left the wall and it was bad defensive play.
"I didn't think they were really threatening until they scored the goal but then the game opened up and we took the chance. In the context of today the result is fair."
Rooney came on as a 69th-minute replacement for Park Ji-Sung, and Ferguson said the decision to leave him out of the starting line-up was because the player had endured a "really bad week."
Rooney has been hit with a three-match Euro 2012 ban after being sent off in England's qualifier against Montenegro last week.
"Wayne has had a bad week," Ferguson said before the game.
"He was devastated by the suspension, I must say that, and when you think about it, he'll miss the European Championship and quite feasibly could miss the whole competition because you're never certain you're going to qualify from the group.
"So that's been a bad week for him really. I just felt all things considered he'd be better starting on the bench."
Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish was disappointed his side failed to hang on for victory but admitted a draw was a fair result.
"We could have had all three points," said Dalglish.
"But it is a real indication of the progress we have made when you go in the dressing room afterwards and they are disappointed that they have drawn 1-1 with Manchester United.
"Was I surprised Rooney didn't start? Not really.
"I think after every international break Fergie has made changes to his team. They have a Champions League game on Tuesday and then a big derby next weekend."
Dalglish was delighted Gerrard marked his return with a goal, and is backing the England midfielder to get stronger as he eases his way back after injury.
"It's fantastic for everyone here that he has crowned his first start for a while by scoring," added Dalglish.
"He has made a really fantastic contribution to this club and I'm sure he will continue to do that. Just to see him back was brilliant for us."