United must solve psychological problems

MANCHESTER - Manchester United's propensity to throw games away this season has become a psychological problem and must stop, manager Sir Alex Ferguson said on Tuesday before their Champions League game against Bursaspor.

While news that striker Wayne Rooney wants to leave the club was reverberating around Old Trafford, the 18-times English champions are aware they have other problems too and Ferguson said there would be changes for Wednesday's Group C game.

Three times this season they have been leading before giving away often late goals to draw, leaving them in fourth place, five points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea.

"The reason for the lack of response on Saturday (a 2-2 draw against West Bromwich Albion) was not to do with the game itself - it was to do with the other games when we were throwing games away," Ferguson told a news conference.

"They (players) start thinking 'Christ, here's another one.'

"There is a conscious part comes into it - 'We're going to have to face the gaffer and explain this again'.

"The goal scoring ratio is not too bad - it's the ones we're letting in that's causing us concern."

Defender John O'Shea said they needed to stop the rot immediately: "It's something we have to address quickly... we have to show that tomorrow against Bursaspor."

Ferguson said he would make some changes and will hope he is more successful than when fielding a mainly second-string side against Rangers in their Champions league opener last month when they were disappointing in being held to a 0-0 draw at home.

"There are opportunities for one or two younger players who need experience. That's not saying we're taking it lightly," he told reporters.

"We do this in the League Cup successfully and tomorrow we hope the changes we make are ones that we easily carry in terms of positions where we feel we can cope with it."

With Rooney out due to an ankle injury, Javier Hernandez is likely to partner Dimitar Berbatov up front because Michael Owen has only just returned to training after injury.

Nicknamed the "Green Crocodiles", Turkish club Bursaspor should be sniffing vulnerability in a United side suffering from Rooney's unrest and a less than perfect start to the season.

However, coach Ertugrul Saglam said the quality of United's squad meant it was unlikely to help the visitors.

"They have depth and quality in their squad of a high standard and so it is unlikely to be an advantage for us," he said. "We are improving and I hope we produce a much better performance than in the previous two games."

United are top of the group with four points from two matches, level on points with Rangers. Valencia have three while Bursaspor are bottom with none after being thrashed 4-0 at home by Valencia and losing 1-0 at Rangers.