Sir Alex Ferguson has 100 per cent confidence in Manchester United's defence, insists Rio Ferdinand

Rio Ferdinand believes that Manchester United retain a strong defensive base despite the criticism he and his defensive team-mates have received this season.

Ferdinand played the full 90 minutes as the Red Devils defeated rivals Liverpool to maintain their seven-point lead over Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table, and was partnered by club captain Nemanja Vidic – who has only recently returned to first-team action after undergoing surgery on his knee.

Injuries have also affected the form and limited the appearances of fellow defenders Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones, but the 34-year-old insists boss Sir Alex Ferguson has confidence in his defence, despite conceding 29 goals in just 22 league games this term.

“I think we’ve got players who the manager can put 100 per cent faith in to come in and do jobs,” Ferdinand told talkSPORT.

“Jonny Evans has done fantastically well when Vidic has been out. Chris Smalling has done well when he has come in and so has Phil Jones.

“We’ve got players who we know that the manager can be confident about putting in and I think that’s more important than anyone one of us as individuals.”

And Ferdinand added that now that Vidic had returned from injury, he expects the team to improve their reliability at the back.

He added: “It’s great to have players of the calibre of Vidic back because he’s a top quality player but when the manager can’t call upon him, or anybody else, the players feel comfortable with anyone that comes in, which is great.”

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