Football: No defence? No title win, says Rio

Football: No defence? No title win, says Rio
Sergio Aguero (in blue) and Rio Ferdinand (in red) had selfies taken with fans when they turned up at the Association for Persons with Special Needs Tanglin School yesterday. More excitement was generated when Aguero's team took on Ferdinand's side in a 5-on-5 match in the school hall.

This may have been the first season in over 50 years of top-flight English football when more than one club scored over 100 goals.

But for all the attacking verve displayed by champions Manchester City and runners-up Liverpool, Rio Ferdinand believes that it is defence that ultimately decides a title race.

"Look at Liverpool's season - they scored loads of goals but weren't strong defensively," he said of a Reds rearguard that shipped 50 goals in 38 outings to City's 37.

The 35-year-old was speaking from experience, having formed a miserly defensive partnership with Nemanja Vidic that helped Manchester United land five English Premier League crowns.

"The club was built on the foundation of a strong defence," said the former England international, who was in town this week for the SG Game On! Ultimate Selfie challenge jointly organised by SingTel and Samsung.

"It provided a platform for the attacking players to go out and win us games. If you can do that, invariably, you win the league."

But these are times of change at Old Trafford. Vidic has agreed to join Serie A giants Inter Milan on a free transfer, left-back Patrice Evra is reportedly on his way out while Ferdinand will leave after 12 trophy-laden years.

Their departures will leave a gaping hole in the United backline - one that the former West Ham United and Leeds United man is backing Jonny Evans, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling to fill.

Jones and Smalling came under criticism from former United captain Roy Keane earlier this week.

He said they had "gone backwards" in their development since joining from Blackburn Rovers and Fulham respectively.

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