Ferguson wants defensive improvements - Manchester United v CFR Cluj Preview

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CFR Cluj v Manchester United
Dr Constantin Radulescu Stadium
UEFA Champions League
Tuesday October 2; KO 19:45

Team News

Manchester United veterans Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes have both been left behind for Manchester United’s Champions League trip to Romania to take CFR Cluj tonight.

Neither Michael Carrick or Antonio Valencia made the trip either, while Nemanja Vidic, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones are all long-term absentees.

Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie could make their first start together since the Dutchman arrived at Old Trafford in the summer.

Ferguson wants defensive improvements

Sir Alex Ferguson says is he mindful of his Manchester United side slipping up against European minnows CFR Cluj this evening - and wants his side to show the defensive solidarity that was absent in their recent 3-2 defeat against Tottenham.

United went tumbling out of the Champions League at the group stages last year for only the third time in 17 years after disappointing results against lesser sides such as Otelul Galati and Basel.

The Red Devils picked up a 1-0 win in their first Champions League Group H game against Galatasaray last month, and Ferguson says he wants his central defensive pairing of Jonny Evans and Rio Ferdinand to show their understanding has improved since the disappointment of Saturday at Old Trafford.

"I hope the first half on Saturday was [an issue of] awareness," he told, referring to Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans playing together for only the second time this season.

"When Jonny and Rio played consistently every week last season [from December when Nemanja Vidic was injured], we got better."

Ferguson revealed Michael Carrick and Ryan Giggs didn’t make the trip because of illness, while Paul Scholes has been given a rest.

"Carrick didn’t report today, he’s in bed with a virus," the Scot confirmed. "Ryan also felt rough this morning and we sent him home. We left Paul Scholes behind.

"Those three players are missing - two with a virus and Paul Scholes because, although he looked great this morning and played great on Saturday, at 37 years of age I can’t expect him to play three games like that [Tottenham, Cluj, Newcastle]."

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Ryan Giggs
UEFA Champions League
Manchester United
Paul Scholes

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