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Ferguson leaps to defence of under fire defender Ferdinand

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has responded to former England boss Graham Taylor's assertion that Rio Ferdinand's 'legs have gone.' "In my time here, we have always had one of our star players finding he gets criticised when he has a little blip," he said.

"It seems to be part and parcel of being a player at Manchester United. We are all aware of that.

"No player likes to be criticised. We all like to be loved and want arms around our shoulders at times.

"But he will come out of it - there is no question about that.

"There is no discernible depreciation in his qualities - none at all."

As Ferdinand has stated himself, what he needs is a run of games.

"Playing with injury is not the easiest thing to do, and we are trying to get it right," said Ferguson.

"Calf injuries can be troublesome.

"If you don't arrest it and give it proper treatment then you can end up the way we are now, and playing in games when you are not 100% fit.

"It is difficult to say about the weekend. He is doing some good work, and we hope we will see improvement."

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