Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

We believe in what we've got - Rio

Rio Ferdinand believes Manchester United have a strong enough squad to challenge on all fronts

Defender Rio Ferdinand insists Manchester United have enough quality to retain the Barclays Premier League title despite a difficult start to the David Moyes era.

Although United cruised to victory in their opening game at Swansea, they were held to a draw by Chelsea at Old Trafford before being beaten by Liverpool at Anfield.

The dust was still settling on that unwanted reverse on Merseyside when the Red Devils plunged themselves into a chaotic transfer deadline day, which, farcically, included three men United knew nothing about reportedly turning up at Spanish league (LFP) headquarters in Madrid attempting to broker a deal for Athletic Bilbao's Ander Herrera.

An 11th-hour attempt to sign Fabio Coentrao on loan from Real Madrid also ended in failure, leaving Moyes and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward to go away and lick their wounds with only the arrival of Marouane Fellaini to console them.

Yet Ferdinand insists belief in the Old Trafford camp remains high.

"We've got a strong enough squad to win everything," the 34-year-old told the London Evening Standard.

"We won the league at a canter last season and we've not become a bad team overnight.

"We believe strongly in what we have got. And anyway, you can't judge the league after three games."

Clearly, though, results immediately after the international break have taken on additional significance, particularly the Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium on September 22.

For if United were to lose there, the gap to the Premier League summit would look very wide.

Prior to that Moyes has his first experience of a Champions League group game against Bayer Leverkusen at Old Trafford. And it has been confirmed Scotland midfielder Darren Fletcher will play no part in the competition until at least after Christmas.

United have named youngsters Sam Johnstone, Tom Thorpe, Larnell Cole, Jesse Lingard and Will Keane alongside new signing Marouane Fellaini in their Champions League squad.

Cole and Keane are both 18 with Johnstone, Thorpe and Lingard aged 20 and their names were among those submitted to UEFA even though they all qualify for the B list because of their age, meaning they could still be promoted to the first team before midnight on the day before any Champions League fixture anyway.

Fellaini and Wilfried Zaha, in his first season at Old Trafford after signing in January but returning to Crystal Palace on loan, are set for their first Champions League action with the Red Devils.

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