Manchester United defender Jonny Evans will be available for the Champions League tie against CFR Cluj-Napoca. Evans was helped off the pitch at the end of United’s 3-2 loss against Tottenham on the weekend but manager Sir Alex Ferguson maintained that his defender had merely suffered a dead leg and the 24-year-old trained this morning to assure his manager that he will be able to partner Rio Ferdinand for the away game in Romania.
Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Michael Carrick have all been left out of the 21-man squad that has travelled to Romania. Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young are still sidelined with injuries that leaves Darren Fletcher, Jesse Lingard, Nick Powell and Ryan Tunnicliffe as United’s central midfield options. Youngsters Michael Keane and Scott Wootton will provide cover for a beleaguered central defence with Nemanja Vidic, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones still out injured.
Man Utd squad: De Gea, Lindegaard; Buttner, Evans, Evra, Ferdinand, M.Keane, Rafael, Wootton; Anderson, Cleverley, Fletcher, Lingard, Nani, Powell, Tunnicliffe; Hernandez, Kagawa, Rooney, van Persie, Welbeck.
Sir Alex Ferguson justified the three absences by explaining Michael Carrick and Ryan Giggs have a virus and Paul Scholes is simply being rested. And Ferguson has urged his team to not underestimate Cluj as they did last season with Basel and highlighted the Romanian team's counter-attacking ability.
Michael Carrick has stated that United will need to stop providing opposition teams a head start in matches. United lost 3-2 to Tottenham on the weekend after going 2-0 behind, which follows a run of games where United have conceded first. Referring to the comeback wins against Fulham, Southampton and Liverpool, Carrick believes whilst United have demonstrated their character and spirit in coming back in the aforementioned games, they are ‘making games a lot harder than they should be’.
Wayne Rooney has outlined the United’s intent for the upcoming game against Cluj by stating the team will try and claim all three points: ‘Hopefully we will get a win which will put us in a good position to go through so early on in the group. The next two Champions League games are big ones for us. We are looking to get maximum points.’
And goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard insists United will not make the same mistakes as last season in their European campaign. United were knocked out in the group stages last season but Lindegaard is hoping this term’s competition will be a ‘no-nonsense campaign’.
Former player Mikael Silvestre is training with Manchester United but Sir Alex Ferguson has hinted he is unlikely to be used as cover at central defence. The 35-year-old left the club over four years ago and as the player is a free agent United could technically sign the player despite the closure of the transfer window. The player joined rivals Arsenal and spent last season at Werder Bremen who released him over the summer.
The rising star of Croatian football, Dinamo Zagreb 16-year-old Alen Halilovic, has played down reports linking him with moves to Manchester United and Real Madrid. Halilovic made his first-team debut this past weekend for Zagreb but has insisted his future remains in the hands of the club and he will focus simply on developing as a player.
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