Ryan Giggs has admitted in all his time at Manchester United he has never known an injury crisis as bad as the current one.
United travel to Hull on Sunday no doubt relieved demands of TV have provided an extra 24 hours to try and get Nemanja Vidic or Wes Brown over their respective calf and hamstring complaints in time to bring some sort of normality back to the Red Devils back four. The chronic run of injuries has been going on for two months now and is threatening to kill off United's chances of a fourth successive Premier League title.
And, even for someone like Giggs, who has seen virtually everything during his extraordinary career, it is a new experience. "I have never known a situation like this," he said. "Not to lose so many players in one position. We only have one fit defender for two or three weeks now."
Not that Giggs is complaining. The veteran Welshman accepts that at a big club such as United, you have to find the resources to cope.
Yet, in pressing Michael Carrick and Darren Fletcher into service as emergency defenders, it has presented the Old Trafford outfit with a double challenge.
"We have had to cope but it is difficult," said Giggs. "It is a double blow really because lads like Michael Carrick and Darren Fletcher are not accustomed to playing in defence and we also miss their skill and experience in midfield.
"But there is nothing we can do about it. We just have to get on with it.
"There are lads starting to come back fresh now and January and February is always an important time."
After losing twice in three games, United can count themselves fortunate not to head into their festive programme further adrift of leaders Chelsea than they actually are.
"We have to be quite happy with the position we are in given all the injuries we have had," said Giggs. "We are still second in the table and if we get six points over Christmas the worst we can be is four points behind Chelsea. It could have been a lot worse."
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