Manchester United v Benfica
UEFA Champions League Group C
Tuesday 22 November 2011
Manchester United Manager Sir Alex Ferguson has expressed slight concern at the length on his side’s injury list ahead of their crucial Champions League clash with Benfica tonight.
He said: “You don't envisage having quite so many injuries. It doesn't disrupt us to a great degree but it does unsettle the balance of the team."
His captain Nemanja Vidic is suspended after being sent off against Otelul Galati and Jonny Evens is in line to fill that gap, so long as he manages to overcome a shoulder injury.
Despite the striker sitting out training on Monday, Ferguson is confident Wayne Rooney will be fit enough to play, possibly partnering Javier Hernandez up front.
England youngster Danny Welbeck is doubtful with a muscle strain, though Anderson and Chris Smalling are definitely out, the latter with a toe injury. Tom Cleverley joins Michael Owen on the long term injury list, with neither available until around Christmas time.
A win for Benfica will mean they are guaranteed to finish top of their group by virtue of the head-to-head record between the two teams.
However, they will need to do so without Argentinian striker Javier Saviola, who has a knee complaint. Jorge Jesus’ team will also be without Enzo Perez and Nemanja Matic – a former Chelsea player.
Park expecting tough Benfica test
Manchester United midfielder Ji-Sung Park is expecting his side will have a tough evening ahead of them when they welcome Benfica to Old Trafford.
A win for the Portuguese side will see them secure the top spot in Group C, and Park is not about to begin underestimating a team that haven’t lost a competitive match since May.
"I look forward to it because, in the early part of the Champions League, we couldn’t get a win in the first couple of games," said the South Korean midfielder.
“But we got into the winning mood against Otelul Galati and now we have to keep that going. Benfica are a good team – they play well as a team, they do not rely on individuals, so we have to focus on all of their players.
“We don’t know their players very well because we only meet them in the Champions League but we know how they play because we’ve played them in Portugal already. We couldn’t get a win over there but we are at home at Old Trafford so we hope to perform well, get a good result and go through in the Champions League."
Park also spoke of his happiness that his injury problems have abated for now, and he is getting more and more playing time in the Untied first team.
“I’m satisfied, but I always try to improve myself, to be better than yesterday,” he added.
“I just keep trying to improve myself and help the team to win the game. I feel pretty good and we still have a long season ahead so hopefully I will have no injuries and can keep helping the team win the games.”