FERGUSON STUNNED BY BAD DEFENDING
Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted two minutes of madness at Old Trafford on Sunday could turn out to be "very costly" in the Premier League title race.
Roughly three and a half hours after Nikica Jelavic and Steven Pienaar had struck to earn Everton a point from a staggering 4-4 draw at Manchester United on Sunday, Manchester City secured a victory at Wolves that cut the gap between the two sides to three points.
As City have a superior goal difference, the maths are clear heading into the Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium on April 30.
Lose, and United also lose control of their own destiny with just two games of the campaign remaining.
"It could be costly," said Ferguson.
"We've thrown a game away that we should be coasting.
"It was terrible defending and a lack of concentration from us."
Although tricky trips to the north east, to Newcastle for City, and Sunderland for United, mean next Monday's collision cannot actually decide the title, even Ferguson accepts it might as well be.
"Yes, definitely," said Ferguson, when asked if it was the most important derby he has known.
"We've given them initiative, there is no doubt about that.
"It makes the game at the Etihad a really important game. A decider really.
"There has been an expectancy from City that it could be their decider, but it's our decider too."
Twice in the second half United established two-goal leads after initially falling behind to Jelavic's opener.
Wayne Rooney scored two more goals to take his seasonal tally to 33, one adrift of his best tally, and 190 overall, fourth on United's all-time list.
When Danny Welbeck and Nani scored in the space of two minutes around the hour mark, it appeared victory was secure.
But Ferguson was stunned by the collapse of a team that had kept six clean sheets in its previous seven games.
"There were defensive lapses," he said.
"Their goals were really soft. It was a real shock for us to defend like that.
"It was a travesty of a result in some ways but we made it difficult for ourselves and if you look at our history we keep doing that."
Everton manager David Moyes said he felt "insulted" that his side's character should have been questioned, even though they twice found themselves two adrift just eight days after they were beaten by old rivals Liverpool in the FA Cup semi-final.
"I am really disappointed people would question their character," said Moyes.
"It is a bit insulting because I would hate to think people either wouldn't understand me or the culture of Everton FC."
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