Last updated : 22 January 2006 By Ed

The Observer:

Sir Alex Ferguson will blame his defenders in a full and frank admission to Manchester United's supporters tomorrow that he no longer holds any hope of catching Chelsea at the top of the Premiership. Without going so far as to name names, Ferguson makes it clear in his programme notes for the visit of Liverpool that he believes Rio Ferdinand and Mikaël Silvestre, among others, should shoulder much of the responsibility.

We have to do a lot better in that department," he says. "If you look at the statistics of Chelsea, and Liverpool, you will see they just don't give goals away. They have each conceded 11 in the league. Compare that with our goals-against column of 20 and you will see where we need to improve."