As ManUtd.com's 'Goalkeeper Week' ends, we turn our attention to defenders and talk to Rio Ferdinand about the art of stopping goals…
Everyone loves to watch free-flowing football and see great goals, but essentially your job is to destroy that beauty…
I know everybody loves to watch players scoring goals but I equally enjoy stopping them. For me, to make a good block or to keep a clean sheet is as good as scoring a goal. It hasn’t always been that way – when I was a kid I used to love scoring – but I’ve grown into that and that’s what I enjoy now. As a centre-half you look at the 'goals against' column before the 'goals for' column. I admit there are times when I love to sit down and watch the beautiful game and admire great goals, but not if they’re scored against us!
What about when United concede a really great goal – what percentage of you (if any) is admiring the goal?
None. Certainly not at the time. If we go on to win the game then maybe you can sit down afterwards and watch it back and talk about its merits, but even then you’ll probably start dissecting it and pulling apart the move to see what could have been done to prevent it. Of course, there are times when you just have to hold your hands up and admit there was nothing you could have done. I remember playing Chelsea in 2005 and Tiago scoring a belter from long-range that nobody would have saved. What can you do about that? I guess you just have to make sure that next time you don’t give somebody the space to take a shot in the first place.
Are you someone like Alan Hansen who looks at goals from a defender’s point of view?
Always. Absolutely. The other day I watched back Chicharito's first goal against Bolton, when he ran across the front post and poked the ball in at the near post. But before he made that run he made two other movements to shake off his defender. And when a striker does that it’s incredibly hard to defend against. I think if I was a coach then I’d put that goal on DVD and I wouldn’t even send my team out to train – I’d just make them watch that goal because that tells you all you need to know. I’d tell them to sit down and watch because this is what you need to do when the ball goes out to wide areas. It was absolutely brilliant.
How difficult is it to defend against good movement?
You can defend against it if you’re on top of your game and