Good and bad news on the injury front; a public display of protection from Sir Alex and squad rotation are all on the agenda this week at Old Trafford.
The news we did not want to hear yesterday: “Vidic will not be ready for the Debry on Sunday”.
Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic was in line for a return to the first team against Cluj tonight, with a view to playing against Manchester City on Sunday – however Sir Alex has confirmed the Serbian defender is not quite ready; a decision the player himself made.
I think it is obvious to everybody within the footballing world just how much United have missed their captain and will welcome his return to action with open arms.
Better news in this area involves Shinji Kagawa who is likely to be fit enough for the bench on Sunday.
After the return of Jones and Smalling, with Vidic and Kagawa both likely to resume full fitness by mid-December, is the injury crisis finally easing off?
Despite being dragged off after 30 minutes against Reading, and failing to shake the hand of the manager or take a jacket from the coaching staff; Rafael was defended by Sir Alex when questioned by media.
When a brave journalist quizzed Sir Alex about the reaction from the Brazilian defender, the United Head-Honcho was quick to his stand up for the right back: “it is good that the boy was disappointed to come off” and “he has been our best player all season”.
A public defence with perhaps a private hairdryer?
Finally in this weeks news, having already won Champions League Group H, United are set to rest a few players for tonight’s visit of Cluj, in preparation of the top of the table clash on Sunday with local rivals Manchester City.
The blue part of Manchester were themselves knocked out of the Champions League in recent weeks, failing to register a win and recording a record low points for any English club ever appearing in the competition. They finished dead bottom of their group and failed to qualify for the Europa League.
Although some players will be rested, Sir Alex has confirmed Wayne Rooney needs games to find and maintain his best form, however we expect players like Rio Ferdinand and Robin Van Perise wil be wrapped in cotton wool.
I look forward to seeing more of Powell, Buttner, Welbeck and Jones tonight.
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