Speaking at the pre match press conference this morning ahead of Sunday’s massive showdown with Manchester City, Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed the latest team news.
Sir Alex on the latest team news…
“Tom Cleverley will have a scan this morning and we’ll see what he’s like. It’s his calf injury, which is a worry, but we’ll see.
I thought Kagawa may have done enough to make the bench on Sunday but I don’t think he’ll be available until the Sunderland game.
Vidic, he’s doing well in training but I think the game on Sunday is a bit soon. I think he’ll be ready for Sunderland. I know we’ve got a few injuries at the moment but we’ve got a big strong squad of players. Nani and Valencia are still out. It will be a few weeks with them.”
So that is Nani, Kagawa, Valencia and Vidic all ruled out of the tie. Typical. Valencia and Kagawa had been integral to our early season form, and both will be massive misses on Sunday.
As for Cleverley, I don’t expect him to play on Sunday unfortunately. He has been rusty as of late including the first half against Cluj and I doubt Sir Alex would want him playing against Manchester City unless he was fully fit.
With our two best energetic central midfielders likely to be injured in Anderson and Cleverley, it is going to be a real problem for us on Sunday. Don’t be surprised to see Scholes starting alongside Fletcher and Carrick, considering they are our only three fit midfielders.
Our situation with wingers doesn’t look much brighter with our two best wingers sidelined and Young hardly in the best of forms, we’ll struggle to have any natural width on Sunday. In the past two games, Ferguson has played Rooney in the wide right position. It worked against Reading where he was superb but against Cluj, he was very poor.
Hopefully on Sunday, Rooney will adopt his more comfortable and natural central playmaker position. As is always the case with Manchester United, we normally play well when we have Rooney firing on all cylinders and we will need that come Sunday.
“It’s not as if we’re ignoring it. City will expect us to have worked on it this week. We’ve lost something like 19 goals from set plays this year, which is a lot. We’re hoping to find a solution and we’re hoping a solution makes a difference. I’m sure City will be working on set pieces. The timing of the goal in last year’s game, just before half-time, gave them an advantage. It will be a tight game on Sunday – there won’t be a lot in it. We have the players to make an impact ourselves.”
I think Sunday might turn into a chess game as both us and City will be more afraid to lose the game than anything. Clean sheets aren’t likely though, with both defences looking rather weak at the best of times this season. We’ve, somehow, scored goals aplenty from corners this season and I hope we can continue that on Sunday. City have been at sixes and sevens, like us, when defending them.
On the derby…
“It’s a derby game and they’re notorious for surprises. City haven’t lost for two years at home so it’s going to be difficult. It will be hard but we’re capable of beating anyone, as we’ve proved time and time again.”