Jonny Evans and Nani were both substituted off in Manchester United's 3-1 defeat of Braga and when both substitutions occurred, at separate times, it wasn't entirely clear whether it was because of their disappointing performances or because of a knock. Neither occurrence is desired, obviously, but the hope was that it was due to the former. Unfortunately, it appears both players sustained minor knocks and both were taken off due to what assistant manager Mike Phelan is describing as precautinary reasons:
"Jonny felt his groin a little bit – I think it probably happened during the penalty incident. As a precaution we took him off quickly. With Nani I think it was probably just a lack of games and his hamstring started to tighten up, so we weren’t taking any chances with that."
Sir Alex's puppetPhelan | Source: ManUtd.com
I suppose it's comforting that it doesn't sound serious but the club isn't exactly forthcoming on a consistent basis with the injuries to the squad. United have had awful luck thus far this season with their central-defenders and this knock to Evans occurred on the night that defender Chris Smalling finally made his long awaited return to the club. Hopefully, this isn't a situation where we gained one center-back but lost another. The fixture list is quite congested through the upcoming holiday season and the only other available established first-team central-defender is Rio Ferdinand. Phil Jones is not far from a return though.
As for Nani, he's certainly not a first-choice player right now and the speculation is that manager Sir Alex Ferguson wants to limit his involvement until the winger's contract situation is resolved. The Portuguese international, though, is needed at the moment as Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young are the only other natural wingers on the squad.
Neither knock sounds serious and perhaps Fergie will provide an update on both on Friday during his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday's Aston Villa tie. Or maybe he won't. If either or both of these players become unavailable for any length of time, the lack of ideal depth at the moment, at these player's positions -- particularly at center-back -- are the concerns we should have.