Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson held his pre-match press conference on Tuesday ahead of his side's clash with Otelul Galati tomorrow night in a Group C UEFA Champions League tie. The headline news from the United boss is that midfielder Tom Cleverley is expected to miss tomorrow's match and also Saturday's upcoming league match versus Sunderland. Here are Fergie's comments on Cleverley:
"Cleverley won't play tomorrow. It's not serious but it's one of those injuries where he got a little tweak on it on Saturday. We'll look at the long view and make sure he's available for a long period rather than play him again and risk it coming back to haunt us. I think he'll miss Saturday's game also."
Earlier in the week, Fergie revealed that Rafael has returned to training after recovering from shoulder surgery. He also provided the news that Chris Smalling will be out for a month with a slight foot fracture and that Ashley Young could miss a few weeks as well with a toe injury. Here is Fergie's update on these players:
"Rafael is back but Chris Smalling and Ashley Young are still injured. We've got a few niggling injuries about the place but hopefully they're on the mend, most of them. We'll have to make one or two changes tomorrow but hopefully we'll be strong enough."
It is also believed that Ryan Giggs has a hamstring injury and that Federico Macheda has an arm or elbow injury. However, the time frame for recovery of these suspected injuries is unknown as Fergie has yet to directly discuss them.
Captain Nemanja Vidic will miss the match tomorrow because he was sent off in the return fixture in Bucharest. Fergie is planning on selecting Rio Ferdinand against Galati:
"He [Vidic] was a bit unfortunate with the sending off in Romania,but I can understand the referee's decision because his foot was a little bit high. It's unfortunate for us that he's missing tomorrow as his performance on Saturday [against Everton] was excellent. But Rio steps in and will play tomorrow, there's no problem with that."
The Reds boss expanded quite a bit on Ferdinand and on his current form at 33-years-old:
"I explained to Rio the other day simply this - we have two young centre-backs coming through and I'm happy to have four and hope I can keep four of them for a long time," said the boss at his press conference at Old Trafford."Rio's almost 33 and has obviously lost the yard of pace he had five years ago but that doesn't mean to say he can't tailor his game into a different game where he doesn't rely on pace. We've all faced that, the decisive moment in your career when you realise you have to change your game. I did that myself when I lost some sharpness so I tailored my game differently. Rio will do the same and he'll be fine. I don't think there will be any problem. In his time with us, eight years or so now, he's been a fantastic, consistent performer, top-class and absolutely brilliant. Rio will rearrange his game a little bit but not drastically. He's still one of the best footballers in the country in terms of his use of the ball. He has a great presence and can still tackle and head the ball. All that's changed, and maybe he's realising it now, is the electric pace he had two or three years ago. He'll change, there's no problem with that, and he'll play a big part."