Scholes talks tough

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Paul Scholes believes Manchester United will have emerged from one of the toughest Champions League groups when they take their customary place in the knockout stage draw later this month.

An injury-ravaged United conclude their Group B campaign against Wolfsburg knowing their spot in the last 16 has been booked for a month. Indeed, the Red Devils' result against the Bundesliga champions will be irrelevant if CSKA Moscow beat Besiktas in their final game because that result will confirm Sir Alex Ferguson's men as group winners even if they end up in a three-way tie on 10 points.

"This was one of the toughest groups. We had to go to Moscow, which is always difficult, especially on a plastic pitch, and it is the same in Turkey, yet we managed to win both game," Scholes said.

"CSKA and Besiktas went on to prove at Old Trafford that they are very capable teams and when you take into account Wolfsburg are the German champions, we did well to qualify as early as we did."

Ferguson will make a late check on Nemanja Vidic before deciding his side to play in Germany, although he has already declared an intention to use Michael Carrick in central defence given his lack of bodies.

Rio Ferdinand heads a injured list which also contains John O'Shea, Jonny Evans, the Da Silva twins Fabio and Rafael, plus Gary Neville and Wes Brown, who both started in central defence at Upton Park but failed to finish the contest.

With the services of Owen Hargreaves - who could fill in at right-back - also denied Ferguson at present, it will be interesting to see whether he can approach Watford for the return of Tom Cleverley or Craig Cathcart, whose loan spells run until January.

However, with potential United target Erin Dzeko and Aston Villa's John Carew to face over the next seven days, Ferguson will be putting a lot of thought into his team selections, although for tomorrow at least, Scholes is unsure of the benefit winning the group might actually be.

"We want to win the game and finish top of the group," he said.

"How much difference that makes to who we get in the next round I am not too sure. There are lots of good teams at that stage of the tournament."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Craig Cathcart
European News
John O'Shea
John Carew
Wes Brown
Premier League
Michael Carrick
UEFA Champions League
Manchester United
Nemanja Vidic
Paul Scholes
Aston Villa
Owen Hargreaves
Gary Neville
Jonny Evans
Tom Cleverley
Rio Ferdinand

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