Sir Alex Ferguson says Manchester United were 'careless'

By Phil McNultyChief football writer

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson accused his side of "carelessness" after they lost a two-goal lead and needed a late equaliser to rescue a 3-3 draw against Basel in the Champions League at Old Trafford.

United were facing their first home defeat in 17 months until Ashley Young's last-minute header salvaged a point from a performance laced with defensive uncertainty.

Ferguson said: "I thought there was a carelessness about us throughout the game. The attacking part of our game was very good at times and there was some good football, particularly in the first half.

"There was a carelessness that cost us, though, and Basel could have scored three goals in the first half. I suppose you could say it was a welcome to European football for some of them but we were lax for most of the game."

United, who led at the break through two goals from Danny Welbeck, failed to learn from those Basel warnings and the Swiss side stunned their hosts with a spectacular spell of three in 16 minutes after the break to leave Sir Alex Ferguson's side on the brink.

Fabian Frei scored the visitors' first, with Alexander Frei heading the equaliser before thumping home a penalty with 14 minutes remaining.

Ferguson said: "We've not had a settled defence but there was still enough quality in the back four, and with Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra it was very experienced.

"We played too many players forward and by doing that there were so many gaps in midfield to the back four. If we had concentrated on the back four we might not have had the problems we had."

United have been in blistering attacking form at the start of the season and Ferguson admitted: "I think there is maybe a bit of abandon about us at the moment. At Stoke on Saturday they knew they had to defend in a certain way and did it very well, but there was that carelessness there."

Basel were a constant threat and Ferguson said: "They surprised me with their ability to get the ball forward to the front players as well as they did but I was not surprised by their front players because I told my players that this was a team that looked like they had a goal in them through players like Marco Streller and Fabian and Alexander Frei."

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