Man Utd V Wigan at Old Trafford - Match Preview

Ferguson wants to cut out sloppy goals.

Sir Alex Ferguson has demanded that Manchester United stop conceding the soft goals that are threatening to derail their Barclays Premier League title bid.

United entertain Wigan looking to record their third successive victory. Yet they do so only after being given two massive scares by Fulham and Southampton, who both came close to snatching points off Ferguson's team. As United lost their opening match at Everton, their position could have been far worse than it currently is, three points behind leaders Chelsea and one adrift of champions Manchester City.

And while Ferguson is delighted with a six-goal haul from those two games immediately before the international break, he knows such a prolific return cannot be relied upon.

"We are losing soft goals at the moment," he said. "Do we have to score three in every game to win? I don't want to go down that road. "We are going to address it, as we did last year, because defending is every bit as important as the goals we are scoring.

"There are goals in our team, there is no question about that. But the other end needs balancing out."

The continued fitness of Rio Ferdinand alongside Nemanja Vidic is bound to help. Ferdinand missed the first two games with a leg injury, but returned at Southampton to clock up his 399th United appearance. It means he is one of three senior players on the brink of a landmark, with Ryan Giggs' next Premier League appearance to make him the first player to reach 600. And fellow old stager Paul Scholes needs to feature once more to become only the third United player - after Giggs and Sir Bobby Charlton - to make 700 appearances for the club.

"It is a landmark for three key players," said Ferguson. "It is a great example to younger players of what could be achieved if you sacrifice in the game of football. "These players have had to do that, otherwise they would never have got to this stage."

Robin van Persie and Shinji Kagawa are both expected to feature. The duo returned from international duty with thigh and back problems respectively, but trained on Friday morning and Ferguson expects them to be involved.

Meanwhile, Wigan manager Roberto Martinez hopes to harness the spirit of last season's shock win over United and write a new passage of history for his club. The Latics have a poor record at Old Trafford but Martinez believes April's win at the DW Stadium gives his side a much better chance of upsetting the odds this weekend. The 1-0 victory, which came as Wigan looked to stave off relegation, is an accomplishment Martinez is keen to remind his players of ahead of one of the toughest league games of the season.

"You need to have a visual picture. Any big achievement starts with a dream," Martinez said. "It really helps when you have something to fall back on. Last year's performance at the DW Stadium was everything we wanted in our performance. "We were in a very difficult position, we needed the points, and in a way we forgot who we were playing against. That's something we need to bring into this season's encounter at Old Trafford."

Martinez looks set to be without defenders Jean Beausejour and Antolin Alcaraz for the meeting as both are struggling with leg problems. Beausejour came off during the 2-2 draw against Stoke with a hamstring problem and missed Chile's two 2014 World Cup qualification games, while Alcaraz returned from international duty with Paraguay with an abductor problem.

Source: PA

Source: PA