Manchester United midfielder Owen Hargreaves is back on his training programme after a minor setback in his recovery from major knee surgery.

There was a tentative plan in place for Hargreaves to play a match in early November when he first arrived back from the United States after ground-breaking surgery to cure tendinitis problems in both knees. But that was put on the back-burner when the 28-year-old over-extended himself during one of his individual sessions, which meant a three-day break from training.

And United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is refusing to rush his recovery, saying: "Owen Hargreaves is doing very well. He overdid it one of the days because he got a little calf strain and he had two or three rest days. He is back doing his work again and hopefully we can get him back into training within the next 10 days or so."

He added: As I said before, it is one of those ones we are not going to force because you have to respect the amount of time he has been out.

"He is very happy within himself, which is good, and hopefully we get him back quickly."

Confirmation of United's progress to the last 16 of the Champions League does play into Ferguson's hands as he seeks to manage Hargreaves' comeback.

With less pressure on the final two games - against Besiktas at Old Trafford on November 25 and in Wolfsburg two weeks later - Ferguson has the option of introducing the England international into a calmer match environment than would normally be the case.

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Owen Hargreaves