Manchester United Vs Wigan Athletic, Sat 20 Nov 2010

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Football News

Sir Alex Ferguson is refusing to take much pleasure from the fact Manchester United remain undefeated this term and is still angry at the points they have tossed away.

It is one of the quirks of a crazy Barclays Premier League campaign that the Red Devils are yet to suffer a defeat, yet lie only third in the table.

The reason is obvious. Far too many draws.

Indeed, United have finished level in more matches this term than they have actually won.

Not that Ferguson was complaining at Villa Park last weekend when, by his own admission, United could have been six goals adrift before they launched one of their famous comebacks to earn a share of the spoils and deny Gerard Houllier's men a deserved triumph.

Yet there have been times this term, notably at Fulham and Everton, when the Red Devils have been on the wrong end of a thrilling finale.

They conceded a late equaliser at Craven Cottage after Nani had missed a penalty that surely would have sealed all three points, whilst at Goodison Park United were two goals ahead as the match entered stoppage time and still did not win.

Ferguson regards Bolton as another place where victory was thrown away, although given the Trotters are now fifth - and twice took the lead at the Reebok Stadium - that may be stretching a point.

"People make a story about us being undefeated, but we've thrown points away," Ferguson told Key 103.

"Last week we stole one, so maybe that balances itself out.

"But we are still angry at ourselves at losing late goals. We have got this great record of scoring late goals, but we have suffered from it on the opposite side this season."

United would not expect to suffer this weekend as Wigan are still to gain a point off their neighbours in 10 Premier League meetings, losing by five goals twice last term.

They were also beaten in the 2007 Carling Cup final, in which Wayne Rooney was a goalscorer.

Rooney could therefore have no better side to ease his way back to form against as he restarts his season after a difficult first few months scarred by injury, a World Cup hangover and that intense week when it seemed he was leaving, only to eventually sign a five-year contract.

After spending a week doing conditioning work in the United States, the 25-year-old has been back training once more.

Ferguson is dubious about whether Rooney is going to start tomorrow but, with a trip to Rangers looming in the Champions League on Wednesday, he is eager to get his star man out onto the pitch at some point.

"I don't think Wayne will start tomorrow but he may make the bench," said Ferguson.

"He will certainly play against Rangers on Wednesday.

"He has been doing OK. He just needs to get back into the football training.

"The week in Oregon was intense work. That in itself brings the fitness part, but the football part of training is another thing.

"With him being out with the ankle injury we needed to get him onto the intense training to get his fitness levels up."

Ferguson will keep a close eye on Rio Ferdinand, who came off at half-time in England's defeat to France on Wednesday after feeling a tightness in his hamstring.

There is also a doubt over Chris Smalling, who returned from his first call-up with the English senior squad with some discomfort in his groin."

Wigan defender Gary Caldwell will miss out with a thigh problem.

Manager Roberto Martinez expects the Scot could miss as many as six weeks with the injury, with fellow centre-half Emmerson Boyce also out with a muscle problem.

Caldwell's brother Steven could be drafted into the side, while James McCarthy is a long-term absentee with an ankle injury.

Martinez believes United are in the perfect position in the Barclays Premier League, saying:

"Manchester United are unbeaten in 18 games in the league and that shows you that there are many reasons to have a slower start than many people expect," he said.

"But in my eyes Manchester United are just where they want to be. They are starting to get the important players reaching their moment of form.

"They've got injured players that are going to come back just at the right time and they're just sitting in a very good position in the table just to peak at the right time in the campaign.

"We know that on Saturday we'll have to be at our best to be able to compete against the most experienced side in the Premier League."

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Premier League
Manchester United
Wigan Athletic

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