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The Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has accepted the blame for his side’s shock home defeat to Fulham yesterday after tinkering with the formula that had brought him European success against Rangers in midweek.

Ferguson made four changes from the tam that won at Ibrox, restoring Eric Djemba-Djemba and Nicky Butt to midfield in place of Paul Scholes and Roy Keane. He also left out Phil Neville, the matchwinner in the Battle of Britain, and admitted that United ‘were recognisable’ against high-flying Fulham.

“Perhaps the tension and emotion of Wednesday night played a part,” added a frustrated Ferguson. “We made a terrible start, and Fulham fully deserved to win the match. There was a lethargy about the team, and it could have been six. Our goalkeeper was marvellous.”