Manchester United have been warned that their recent defensive frailties could prove costly if they are not solved ahead of Sunday's visit to Chelsea, the Premier League leaders, on Sunday.
United fell behind after 80 seconds against Braga at Old Trafford in their third Champions League group game on Tuesday evening. This was the eighth occasion in 12 games the Reds had conceded first and Alan, the Braga captain, added his and the visitors' second after 20 minutes to leave United trailing 2-0.
While they rallied through two Javier Hernández goals and Jonny Evans's equaliser to win 3-2, Ryan Giggs is conscious United cannot continue to hand sides an advantage. He said: "There are two ways of looking at it. Obviously, we are pleased that we are able to come back and show great character in eight games to be able to do that. We have the quality and the goals in the team. But you cannot go throughout a season keep going behind and having to rely on the lads up front to score the goals.
"It is something we have looked at and are still looking at. It happened again against Braga but against Chelsea if we go behind it will be tough to come back. We don't want to keep relying on having to come from behind but the positive [is] we are showing the character to do it. We are showing quality as well."
Evans, who had Michael Carrick as his central defensive partner after Rio Ferdinand was rested for the Chelsea match, said: "We lost the two goals early doors so we were glad to get the result. It's happened quite a lot and is becoming a bit of a habit. Hopefully, it's something we can eradicate as we don't want to give ourselves that kind of deficit at the start of games. We need to get a better start in the future."
Darren Fletcher, who was making a second start in the competition this season following his recovery from a chronic bowel condition, said: "We spoke about losing goals before the game and the need to start quicker but unfortunately it has happened again. It was bad enough losing one but then we lost two. The biggest thing we can take from it is the fact we did come back from it. We know we cannot keep doing it but if we are going to do it the fact we respond to it is a good sign. We realise that against better teams we cannot keep doing it but if it happens you have to make sure you win the game.
"If anyone knew the answer to it we would eradicate it. But we have to find the answer quickly and do something about it. Sometimes you can think about it too much. We need to relax and play our own game and not let it happen. We certainly cannot let it happen at Chelsea."
Of the threat of Roberto Di Matteo's side, who have won seven and drawn once so far in the league, Giggs added: "We recognise we cannot afford to let Chelsea get too far ahead. They are four points in front so it is a big game. Winning the Champions League last season will have done a lot for their confidence.
"Chelsea are a talented team. They have changed the personnel a bit with Oscar, [Eden] Hazard, and [Juan] Mata is playing well this season. Then you have [Fernando] Torres as their number one striker. They have a lot of experience at the back and certain parts of midfield.
"Only time will tell if they are better. But you know you are up against a very good team when you pay Chelsea. They have always had that experience and power. They have changed it a little bit with the lads they have brought in. They play in those little pockets and are hard to pick up. So they have changed but it will always be tough against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge."
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