United went down 1-0 in the Barclays Premier League clash at Goodison Park on Monday night thanks to Marouane Fellaini’s second-half header.
It was the first time in eight years the Red Devils had lost their opening league fixture and they now face a Fulham side who made a superb start to their own campaign last weekend by thrashing Norwich 5-0. Ferguson is mindful of the Cottagers’ threat, but is demanding nothing less than a positive reaction from his team — and is confident they will deliver.
“I went to see Fulham last Saturday and they played very well,” Ferguson said.
“It’s a football club that’s grown tremendously since Roy (Hodgson) got them to the Europa League final (in 2010). The place is buzzing, with a full-house every week, and there’s a good atmosphere around the place. They have a lot of experience. It won’t be an easy game, but we’re at home and we need to make an impact quickly after losing on Monday, and we expect that.”
Robin van Persie came off the bench to make his United debut in the Everton match and the Holland striker — signed for a reported £24m (€30m) last week from Arsenal — looks set to be promoted to the first XI, with Ferguson saying there is “every chance” he could start against Fulham.
The manager also confirmed Van Persie’s Dutch compatriot and fellow new recruit, full-back Alexander Buttner, will be involved, most likely starting on the bench, and that he will once again be without the defensive quartet of Phil Jones (back), Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling (both foot) and Rio Ferdinand (leg) that was unavailable for the Goodison Park contest, although Jones has now returned to training.
Buttner, whose move to United from Vitesse Arnhem was confirmed on Tuesday, is the fourth new arrival of the summer at Old Trafford following the signings of van Persie and midfielders Nick Powell and Shinji Kagawa, while United also announced striker Angelo Henriquez is to join them from Universidad de Chile having been granted a work permit.
“We definitely won’t be buying anyone else, that is for sure,” Ferguson said.
Fulham boss Martin Jol has demanded Fulham’s strikers continue to fill the goalscoring void left by Clint Dempsey’s exile. Dempsey will be omitted from the squad for the second weekend in succession. The 29-year-old is thought to be desperate to join Liverpool, whose pursuit of the player is the subject of an official complaint made to the League by Fulham.
Jol is furious Reds manager Brendan Rodgers publicly voiced his interest in Dempsey without tabling a firm bid, distracting the American forward. With an unsettled Dempsey deemed unfit to play, Fulham must travel to Old Trafford without their prolific marksman.
Goals were plentiful during Saturday’s 5-0 drubbing of Norwich, but Jol knows scoring will be far tougher against big clubs. “If you look at last season against the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool, Clint was always the one,” the Fulham manager said.
“He’s like a striker, always on the end of things. We had quite a few remarkable results because of that last season. It’s not only about teams like Norwich, it’s also about Man Utd and Chelsea and Clint always played a good part in those games.
“Hopefully Bryan Ruiz, Mladen Petric and Hugo Rodallega can do that, but I still feel we need something at the end of our delivery to be more productive.”