Sir Alex: Derby can wait
Sir Alex Ferguson admits United have plenty of issues to deal with before making plans for Sunday’s derby against Manchester City.
The final Champions League group game against CFR Cluj will allow several players to press their claims with Wayne Rooney, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Alexander Buttner appearing to be in line to play.
Shinji Kagawa will not make Wednesday’s tie but could be a substitute at the Etihad Stadium although the manager confesses he has a headache with regards to the right-wing slot at the weekend.
“Sunday’s five days away but, at this moment in time it, feels like five months,” he stressed. “We have so many issues to deal with first. Kagawa started running today. He may make the bench [against City]. Obviously Nani and Antonio Valencia are still out and that’s why I played Rooney on wide right. I thought it was his best performance of the season.
“Against Cluj, I’m picking a team without any thought of Manchester City. It’s a matter of who needs a game.”
The Reds’ defensive frailties displayed against Reading, in the 4-3 victory, are also causing some concern for Sir Alex.
“I think we’re getting punished when the ball’s going into our box at the moment,” he mused. “But we should be defending far better. Albeit, Reading produced some fantastic balls into the box. We should be expecting better. It’s a worry. If we perform like that on Sunday, then God knows what’s going to happen to us.
“When you see the goals against – we’ve lost 32 already – I can’t remember us losing so many goals before Christmas. It’s a concern, there’s no question about that. When you see City have Mario Balotelli, Edin Dzeko – all really tall players – it’s going to be a big challenge. But that’s on Sunday. Tomorrow we’ve got a different game.”