Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson held his weekly press conference today ahead of Sunday's encounter with Queens Park Rangers and the headline news is that Nani has been training all week and he is available for selection. Here is what the United boss had to say about his Portuguese winger:
"Nani has trained all week. He's a good addition [to the squad], he's such a talented player. His return makes the squad stronger. We need a strong squad now with three games in seven days. Having more players means I can change the team around for those games."
- Sir Alex Ferguson | Source: ManUtd.com
Fergie also addressed the reports that Antonio Valencia would be delaying an ankle surgery due to his commitment to the Ecuadorian national team this summer. Here is what he had to say on that matter:
"I don't know where that story on his ankle has come from. [An operation] has never been on the agenda or been discussed. He has a [metal] plate there but at the moment it stays there. Antonio's form has been unbelievable. When you get players hitting form, their best form, at this time of year, it's a bonus."
The United boss also had these comments about QPR:
"The game against QPR will be another like we experienced on Monday against a team fighting for their survival. They’re never easy – it wasn’t easy on Monday, but we managed to get a fantastic result with late goals. I don’t mind if we have to wait until the last 10 minutes again to win on Sunday. QPR have had two fantastic results in their last two games, beating Liverpool after being 2-0 down and then beating Arsenal 2-1. Knowing how Sparky [Mark Hughes] is and what a fighter he is we know his team will fight. Most teams mirror their manager anyway. So as much as we’re looking forward to the game, it’s going to be a hard one."
Michael Owen and Anderson remain unavailable but both are expected to return at some point during the run-in. Anders Lindegaard is believed to be out as well. Darren Fletcher and captain Nemanja Vidic also remain unavailable due to a season-ending illness and injury, repectively.
With Valencia's and Ashley Young's recent impressive form, it's difficult to imagine that Nani walks straight into the starting XI. However, as Fergie alluded to, there is a midweek game coming up against Wigan Athletic so the squad may be rotated somewhat for that match-up. It's very possible that Valencia, Young, Wayne Rooney, and Danny Welbeck make up the front four versus QPR on Sunday along with Paul Scholes and Michael Carrick in midfield. That could allow last season's first-choice run-in players of Park Ji-sung, Ryan Giggs, and Javier Hernandez (Chicharito) to possibly rotate in together for Wigan. Chris Smalling could deputise at some point as well for Rio Ferdinand if Fergie is cautious to exert the latter player during this upcoming stretch of 3 matches in 8 days.