Antonio Valencia may return in time for Tottenham

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 05: Florent Malouda of Chelsea battles with Antonio Valencia of Manchester United during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on February 5, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Whenever Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson gives you a time frame for a player's recovery from injury, it's probably not accurate. For example, if the Gaffer says a player is out for 8 weeks, then that player is likely not out for 8 weeks. It could be 7 weeks, it could be 9 weeks, it could be 13 weeks, but it's likely not 8 weeks. Last week in Amsterdam, United didn't play at their highest level but there wasn't too many complaints about a 2-0 away victory in Europe. However, the two goal advantage in this two-legged tie with Ajax came at a price -- in-form winger Antonio Valencia went down with an injury that was thought to keep him out for about four weeks. It seems though now, the Ecuadorian could be in contention for a return by March 4 -- the date of an important Premier League clash away to Tottenham Hotspur. Here is what Fergie had to say about his winger in his column this week for United Review -- United's official matchday programme:

"The availability of Ashley Young and Nani as natural wide players considerably strengthens our attacking options. And I am sure our strikers are pleased to see them. They will be sorry to see Antonio Valencia injured again because he too provides great service from out on his wing, but it's not a particularly serious injury and he should be back in a week or so."

- Ferguson | Source: United Review

Obviously this is positive news because the Spurs match will be a massive one and Valencia has perhaps been United's best attacker since the new year. However, once again, it's probably best to not assume too much from the time frame that Fergie has provided. Prior to the Spurs match, Nani and Young will have a chance to find fitness and form after recently recovering from their injuries. It's possible anyway that Park Ji-sung -- who tends to be called upon in 'big' away matches -- will be tasked on the left flank versus Spurs so that he can track marauding right-back Kyle Walker. If Valencia isn't ready for a full return by March 4, hopefully Nani or Young show good form in our upcoming matches versus Ajax today and versus Norwich City at the weekend. For the short-term, we only need one right-winger that is in decent form for Spurs.

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