Speaking at the pre match press conference ahead of tomorrow night’s Champions League visit to Braga, Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed the latest team news.
Chris Smalling “will play a part” in tomorrow night’s match against Braga. That’s fantastic news for us. We have struggled in the absence of a lot of our defenders and up until his injury, Smalling was one of our best. His versatility will be a welcome addition to the squad and it will give us a real option going into a busy Winter period.
The English international hasn’t featured this year after breaking a bone in his foot but he will no doubt play a big role in the squad if he can return to full fitness like he has done in the previous two years.
Darren Fletcher has missed the Braga trip with a cold, while Paul Scholes is again being rested. Hopefully it is nothing more than the cold weather that has brought this on for Darren who has been making excellent steps on his road to full recovery from ulcerative colitis.
As for Paul Scholes, it wasn’t expected that he would travel anyway and it means he will more than likely feature on Saturday against Aston Villa as a consequence.
“You have to look after the old man”, Sir Alex jokingly said.
Here’s a summary of the rest of the press conference.
Sir Alex on the importance of the game…
“It’s an important game in terms of if we win, we’re through to the next stage. I think that’s the important part of tomorrow. Obviously I hope I can pick the team that’ll do that.
“I know Braga’s record in Europe is good, particularly at home they can be a big threat. I think it will be a hard game but hopefully we can manage it.”
Sir Alex on the prominence of Portuguese football…
“I respect Portuguese football,” he said. “I’ve had many experiences of winning and losing against them. If you look at the record of Porto and Benfica in European football, it’s outstanding so I have a great respect for them.
“They still produce fantastic footballers and they’re still the best at getting Brazilian players into their country and they all seem to make a big impact. It’s an absolutely terrific country for producing good footballers and good teams.”