Fergie won't panic despite tired United's defeat

LIVERPOOL: Sir Alex Ferguson admits Manchester United are showing signs of tiredness as the title race gathers pace but he insists there is no need to panic in the wake of his side's 3-1 defeat at Everton.

United have now lost six Premier League matches in the current campaign and have not been defeated as many times in the league since 2004.

They have also suffered three other defeats in cup competitions - against Besiktas, Leeds and Manchester City.

Yet United manager Ferguson, who saw his side lose an eight-match unbeaten run, maintains he is not worried about his team's defeats in a season of alarming inconsistency.

But the Scot did concede his players, who won 3-2 at AC Milan in the Champions League in midweek, showed indications of fatigue on Saturday.

"We left something in Milan and certainly there was tiredness in the team but we're going for a championship and we expect Manchester United to respond to the importance of the game," Ferguson said.

"They've all been bouncing this week and been great. It's a small possibility we've left something there but certainly we looked very tired.

"We were well beaten, simple as that and I'm disappointed. Of course the players are disappointed. They're human beings but they play for Manchester United and they don't like losing."

Despite his frustration at yet another defeat, Ferguson has no worries about his players' ability to recover as he looked ahead to the home game against West Ham on Tuesday.

He added: "We've been responding for a long time so I don't expect a problem with that.

"It's a bad result for us and at this time of the year you can't afford results like that. We hope others drop points and that can happen because of the way the league is going this season.

"That's the way it has been and hopefully it turns that way again. I don't think we'll panic."

Everton have moved to within seven points of the top four with a run of just one Premier League defeat since November.

They have recovered well from a difficult start to the campaign but Moyes admits they have probably left it too late to mount a sustained challenge for a Champions League place.

He said: "It's a long way off for us but I would rather see us coming from behind and up on the rails and we'll have to. It can change.

"We thought there was a period when we'd pick up points but the Premier league this year is so tight that there isn't a guarantee that you will pick them up wherever you go and whoever you play.

"We can start looking upwards a little more than downwards certainly. We've started a tricky month pretty well. We're delighted."

American forward Landon Donovan, who is on loan from LA Galaxy, produced another outstanding performance against United.

His loan spell runs out next month and Moyes admits that he will be unable to extend the deal.

Moyes added: "I don?t think you bring many players from abroad who start the Prmeier League up to speed. In some games there's been a dip but he was always a chance. He always looked as if he had something about him.

"I think Landon would probably like to stay but at the moment it looks as if not and I wouldn't want to show any disrespect to his club or his contract over there."

Dimitar Berbatov gave United an early lead but Diniyar Bilyaletdinov pulled Everton level with a 25-yard drive just two minutes later.

And Everton secured their win thanks to late goals from young substitutes Dan Gosling and Jack Rodwell.