United using experience to survive

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Mike Phelan admits that Manchester United have been stretched to the absolute limit by an injury crisis currently engulfing the club.

A plethora of players are stuck on the sidelines at Old Trafford, with long-term absentees Nemanja Vidic and Darren Fletcher joined by Anderson, Rio Ferdinand, Ashley Young, Tom Cleverley and Michael Owen.

Several others wore battle scars following the 2-1 win at Arsenal on Sunday, with man-of-the-match Patrice Evra knocking his head, Phil Jones damaging ankle ligaments, Michael Carrick tweaking a hamstring and Wayne Rooney limping away from the Emirates Stadium.

It all leaves the Red Devils in a precarious position ahead of the FA Cup clash away to Liverpool at the weekend, and Phelan knows the side will need to draw on all of the traits that have helped them make the dominant force in England over the last two decades.

"We're not in the greatest state that we could possibly be in," Phelan told BBC Radio Manchester.

"However, we can call on all our experiences and resources we have at this football club and we'll have to do that in the coming weeks."

The injury sustained by Jones in north London was a particular blow for United, given the state of Sir Alex Ferguson's defence at the present time after the loss of his two most experienced campaigners in the position.

But, initial fears that he could be facing a long spell on the sidelines don't appear to be the case, with Phelan hinting that his desire to return sooner rather than later could lead to his availability for the trip to Anfield.

"He's that type of lad," Phelan continued.

"His character's very good in and around the place. He's disappointed that, over the last few weeks, he seems to have limped around the football field quite a bit.

"But he manages to recover, so we're optimistic he can do the same again."

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