Sir Alex Ferguson fears Manchester United will be made to pay for not killing teams off when given the opportunity.
The Reds boss believes his side should have been “four or five goals up” at half-time when Southampton visited Old Trafford on Wednesday night. Instead, he and the United fans in attendance were forced to endure a nervy second period in which the Saints came perilously close to snatching an equaliser.
“It must be hard for our fans,” he admitted. “It’s the sadistic nature of our team.
“It was poor from us, though. We should have been 5-0 up at half-time.
“In my experience, there are always one or two games a season where you say to yourself: ‘We were lucky today.’ I think we were lucky in the second half.”
Following last season’s dramatic conclusion, in which the Reds lost the league to crosstown rivals Manchester City on goal difference, Sir Alex knows all too well the dangers inherent with not pressing advantages home. And he’s determined not to go through a similar experience this time around.
“We didn't enjoy last season. You couldn't enjoy that. A few times this season we’ve been in comfortable positions but haven't dug our nails into [the game].
“It's frustrating because I know we're capable of doing that. It could go to goal difference again and that's an issue.
“At the moment we're only two goals better off than Manchester City but that could be undone in one game. We've had opportunities to be better.”
Nevertheless, despite the manager’s concerns, United go into the weekend’s fixtures holding a seven-point lead at the top of the table. City host Liverpool on Sunday, meaning a Reds win at Craven Cottage on Saturday would, temporarily at least, extend the Reds’ lead into double figures.