29/12/2009 09:00, Report by Steve Bartram

Reds need winning rhythm

With a fourth straight Premier League title high on the Reds' agenda, Sir Alex Ferguson and Wayne Rooney are gearing up for a more consistent second half of the season.

Despite suffering five domestic defeats already this term, the Reds are firmly in the hunt for a record-breaking 19th league crown, and a concerted rhythm of victories would help lift the champions above the weekly melee for points in an unpredictable division.

"I think it's a mad league," Rooney told Sky Sports. "A lot of teams are dropping points and it's really close. It's an exciting league to be part of and hopefully we can be more consistent in the second half of the season than we have in the first and retain our title."

Sir Alex is backing the experienced title-chasers to emerge from the cluster when the season enters its nitty-gritty stages, and he is banking on having a little more fortune with injuries after a wretched spell in the first half of the campaign.

"The league is certainly different," he said. "There have been some unusual results and it's looking like it's going to be a really tight race. Experience will come into it - ourselves, Chelsea and Arsenal have the experience of the run-in, and the team that stays clear of injuries will also have an advantage.

"I'm hopeful I'll have all my defenders back by the time the Champions League starts again, which will freshen us up and give me more options. If you make mistakes in this league, you'll get punished so whoever eradicates their mistakes will have a great chance."


Premier League