FOOTBALL NEWS

09/10/2012 09:47, Report by Adam Marshall

Tom bemused by Rio critics

Tom Cleverley admits he is baffled by some media criticism aimed at Rio Ferdinand after the defender produced another polished performance at Newcastle.

The centre-back was harshly highlighted in some quarters after Gareth Bale used his exceptional pace to score for Tottenham in the 3-2 win at Old Trafford but has been in top form this term.

Following a superb display at Liverpool in the Reds' previous Barclays Premier League trip on the road, Ferdinand was at his vintage best again at the Sports Direct Arena.

"People were doubting Rio but he's had one bad game in about six months," Cleverley told MUTV. "He was fantastic along with Rafael, Patrice [Evra] and Jonny [Evans] for anyone doubting our defence.

"We have conceded a few goals due to some small mistakes this season but that's a team thing - not just the defence. I couldn't believe some of the stuff I read about Rio in the week. It's definitely not deserved is that."

Evans, Ferdinand's partner on Sunday, was also full of praise for the former West Ham and Leeds stopper.

"The thing with Rio is that he is so experienced," the Northern Irishman told MUTV. "He cruises through games.

"He comes off at the end and there is not a bit of sweat on him, he could probably play on and on. But that just shows the quality he has got and the experience."

More: Newcastle 0 United 3 | Cleverley thrilled with strike

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