Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has suggested that if his side adopted a more defensive approach at the end of games like Manchester City do, they, not their rivals, could be on the brink of claiming the Premier League title.
The Red Devils let a two-goal lead slip twice against Everton, with the dropped two points now looking key to where the league crown will end up on Sunday.
And eight days later, United went on to lose 1-0 at the Etihad Stadium, with City again showing their ability to close-out a match in pressured situations.
“In the end we just ran out of time,” he told The Sun.
“Mancini made changes to five at the back. It is the Italian mentality and maybe sometimes we should go down that road.
“We certainly could have done with bottling up the game against Everton. If we had done a fraction of what City did then I would probably be saying quite a different thing.”
Despite this, Sir Alex praised the club’s philosophy for attack, saying it has served them well over the years.
He continued: “It is not in our nature to put up the shutters and I like to think that it is our natural attacking, adventurous approach that has made United famous.
“On balance it is also a policy that has served us well in terms of trophies.
“But if we lose the league this year, there is no doubt that the pivotal match was the 4-4 draw [against Everton].”
The 70-year-old also suggested that they had paid the price for conceding six at home to City in October’s Manchester derby, with their goal difference deficit also acting pivotal in the title race.
United will need a nine-goal swing on the final day of the season if both the Red Devils and City win their respective matches against Sunderland and QPR.
“It wasn’t so much losing, you never win them all, but conceding the rush of goals near the end. We are paying for that now with City holding the advantage,” Sir Alex added.