Rio Ferdinand will return to Sir Alex Ferguson’s team as Oțelul Galați visit Old Trafford for Wednesday’s Champions League Group C clash. But the defender’s recall comes with a stark warning from his manager and an admission that Ferdinand is no longer an automatic selection following United’s hammering by Manchester City recently.
Despite being fit the 33-year-old defender was dropped by Ferguson for United’s trip to Everton last weekend, marking a potential watershed in Ferdinand’s career after nearly a decade at the club. And Ferguson has warned the £30 million defender that he must adapt his game if the former Leeds United man is to compete with competition from United’s younger players.
Ferguson has five central defenders at his disposal, with Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones each under 23-years-of-age, and vying for a place in the Scot’s side.
“I explained to Rio the other day simply this – we have two young centre-backs coming through and I’m happy to have four and hope I can keep four of them for a long time,” said Ferguson on Tuesday.
“Rio’s almost 33 and has obviously lost the yard of pace he had five years ago but that doesn’t mean to say he can’t tailor his game into a different game where he doesn’t rely on pace. We’ve all faced that, the decisive moment in your career when you realise you have to change your game. I did that myself when I lost some sharpness so I tailored my game differently.
“In his time with us, eight years or so now, he’s been a fantastic, consistent performer, top-class and absolutely brilliant. Rio will rearrange his game a little bit but not drastically. He’s still one of the best footballers in the country in terms of his use of the ball. He has a great presence and can still tackle and head the ball. He’ll change, there’s no problem with that, and he’ll play a big part.”
Ferdinand will start alongside Evans on Wednesday, with Phil Jones or Fabio da Silva likely to come in at right-back as United seek to tighten up a back-four that has conceded regularly this season. Chris Smalling will miss the next month with a broken bone in his foot, while Rafael da Silva may play United’s reserve fixture on Thursday night.
“That we were loose is borne out by the statistics that have bandied about over the last few weeks,” added Ferguson.
“There has to be a balance in these matters. Nobody likes losing goals first of all and we have lost a few this season. But we also want to make sure the attacking part is always threatening.”
Although the temptation may be for Ferguson to make wholesale changes ahead of the international break, United’s need for points means that a strong selection is likely. Ashley Young will miss the fixture with a toe problem, meaning that two of Antonio Valencia, Park Ji-Sung and Nani are likely to start against the Romanian champions.
Meanwhile, in midfield Ferguson will be without Tom Cleverley once again, with the 22-year-old suffering a reaction to the ankle injury sustained in September. Cleverley played 55 minutes of United’s Premier League win at Everton but will sit out the next two Untied fixtures and England’s friendlies with Sweden and Spain next week.
The injury means a recall is likely for either Michael Carrick or Anderson to play alongside Darren Fletcher in midfield. The Scot missed around six months of last season with a mysterious viral infection but is now fully fit and central to Ferguson’s mission to tighten up United’s defensive game.
“I feel fine. I knew I would be, my natural fitness is always very good,” said the midfielder.
“I worked hard with the fitness coaches whilst the rest of the lads were away on tour. I reached my level fairly quickly, then it was a question of matches because the more you play, the more you get your sharpness back and awareness back. I was lucky in the respect I was able to get a few games for Scotland before I played for United, which definitely helped me. I have played 10 games so far this season and I feel as though I am back to the level I should be at.”
Oţelul arrive at Old Trafford seeking the first points of an inaugural Champions League campaign. Defeat to United in Bucharest, courtesy of two Wayne Rooney penalties, came after a suicidal defensive performance in the second period. Yet the Romanians will see an opportunity to finish third in the group and qualify for the Europa League, with Basel in disarray following Torsten Fink’s departure to Hamburg.
“We need to win, that’s for sure,” added Ferguson.
“Going on our experience from the last game, they’re a very organised, committed, strong and aggressive team. We’ll need a good performance to beat them. We may make one or two changes, not a great many, and they’ll be mainly because of injuries and things like that. But hopefully we’ve still got a strong enough team to win.”
It’s a tough ask for the Romanians whatever Ferguson’s selection. Including UEFA Intertoto Cup ties and UEFA Cup qualifying rounds, Oţelul have played 11 away matches in Europe and lost seven of them. Oţelul will be without Laurenţiu Buş, sidelined since October with an ankle problem, although defensive midfielder Ioan Filip and Adrian Sălăgeanu are both available. Summer signing Daniel Chávez is still not fit.
Manchester United versus Oţelul Galaţi, Champions League, Old Trafford, Wednesday 2 November 2011, 7.45pm
United (4-4-1-1): Lindegaard; Jones, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra; Nani, Anderson, Fletcher, Park; Rooney; Hernandez. Subs from: De Gea, Fabio, Pogba, Carrick, Giggs, Berbatov, Welbeck, Valencia, Owen, Diouf.
Oţelul Galaţi (4-2-3-1): Grahovac; Perendija, Salageanu, Râpă, Costin; Filip, Neagu, Frunză, Antal, Giurgiu; Punoševac, Subs from: Viglianti, Pena, Ilie, Skubič, Filip, Ljubinković, Antal, Ibeh, Frunză, Sălăgeanu, Paraschiv, , Benga, Iorga, Ilie, Cojoc, Chavez, Buchta, Novac.
Referee Marijo Strahonja (CRO)
Assistant referees: Sinisa Premuzaj, Zeljko Novosel
Additional assistant referees: Igor Pristovnik, Damir Batinić
Fourth official: Ante Vučemilović-Šimunović Jr.
84 thoughts on “Rio’s Galati return comes with Fergie warning”
I seriously can’t be arsed with this game. Bastard glazers.
4-0 a game where our shit midfield will look like world beaters and the knobheads will swoon
anything less will be a disgrace
leeds ajax munich benfica is the bet……….come on
dont jinx me alfy
De Gea, Jones, Ferdinand, Evans, Fabio, Valencia, Rooney, Anderson, Nani, Owen and Berbatov.
4-3-3? Quite an attacking line up
that is a 4-4-2 ffs
So our best striker is playing in central midfield. Where’s the VALUE in that….
berbs to start
must have blown the whole reserve team for a starting berth
what sort of team is that ffs
benfica 1 up already
come on united
stop giving the ball away ffs
owen is pathetic
so finally Fergie accepts that our midfield is shite
Come on United.
with all that possession, you’d like to see some more shots on goal ffs
Just not happening… we should be running up a cricket score here.
Anyone got a stream? City 1-0 up bastards…
Wow… what a save.
uninspiring so far.
Anderson shoots :)))))
this is pretty dull fare considering we have a full 1st team out there
bit wank that half.
Hey we are winning and thats what counts, much beter than the last home game….
me thinks the blower might just be on half in the dressing room
They almost got back into it! DeGea has some good reflexes.
Didn’t say a word…
…Leeds losing 0-3
would have been better to stick some more kids on the bench
only pogba and fryers
2nd half starts
show some urgency now and get some goals
To be fair, they’re running themselves ragged just to keep up with United… can’t keep that up for another 45…
We should start to open them up a bit more soon.
i don’t know alf
this is their fa, league, euro cup final and i can see that team putting a shift in to keep the score down to a respectable level
and they are a bunch of fouling feckers too as the game wears on…
As long as it’s only 1-0… they’ll feel inspired that they’re giving us a game…
htf is this still 1-0?
Is it just me, or is Berbatov intentionally not played by his team mates in the box?
come on reds – get a few goals and go top of the group
Fuck me we’re shit.
And just as I write that, he gets a beauty of a pass from Rooney just to be pushed off the ball…
this is crap.
Rooney has been excellent… but not involved enough in the final third.
rooney should swap positions with berba for the remainder
this is surely going to send a message to the rest of europe
not the right one either
Big sigh from Scholes…
Maybe ’tis the season when United drop into Europa League…..
He looks bored, he knows shite when he see’s it.
Missed most of this – how has Anderson played?
Comprehensively outplayed by Rooney in centre mid
park on andershite off.
Unbelievable… we are just hangin on here… our confidence is fucked.
SAF needs to sort this shit out and fucking quick
Are you in a fucking time warp?
I wish i was! Then i could go forward to when my comments have been moderated and post them at the right time!
Doesn’t surprise me. Anyone watched Javi Martinez? Fletcher, Anderson and Carrick all playing some of the worst football of their career when we need them to step up.
im sure its past your bedtime
Nope, im not sleeping until you have read me a story.
About fuckin time
the fact rooneys played alrite there is a problem
I don’t want to see him there more often
apparently its now 2-0
rarely have i been less enthused by a united goal
We’re looking a shadow of our former glories.
shite performance against a 4th rate side who had more collective balls than united
still, a win is a win
2-0 a win , but shite to watch.
what – the game or your bet?
both.. leeds beat 5 at home is fucked up..
3 clean sheets in a row – maybe SAF has decided to play boring shite cagey footie
anderson is a fucking poor excuse for a footballer
joins the evans, gibson and carrick club
oh well – 25 years ago this week we were being bummed in the league cup by southampton leading to the sacking of fat ron and SAF taking the hot seat – the rest, as they say, is history and an absolutely amazing tenure by the man
still, it’s nights like this that really do bring me down to earth with a bang
Can say we are being defensive with 3 strikers starting? What happened to the intensity at the start of the season? Dopes like Carrick and Anderson need to be used only in an emergency, Jones should be starting pretty much every game whether in defence or midfield.
We all expected that level of performance even against this Romanian pub team. Highlight of the game was Andershite being jeered off the pitch. Atmosphere was shite, even for a mid-week game. There was a pocket of kids sat near us who were making more noise than the rest of the Old Trafford crowd.
When will the manager open his eyes with this fucking team?
City got a good result away from home, I see.
rafael vida smallig evra
nani jones rooney young
if ferd is contnuing with 442 try this till we sort out the mf
smalling and young injured
and where is cleverley in that side?
obviously not there………. most likely benched
Did anyone notice that when Nani went to take a corner in the second half, there was some bloke in the stands behind him with his back to the pitch wearing a Darron Gibson shirt??? Mate, I know replica shirts aren’t cheap but it’s time to upgrade!
On a more serious note, where is Carrick? Is he injured? I am not a fan of his at all but if he can’t even make the bench against Galati something must be wrong.
shit, boring, dire performance. all the same, it was embarrassing to see people leaving in their droves.
* Bri likes this
i thought rio played well
Few things out of this game:
Evans is a liability and must fuck off…now. Accident waiting to happen, I shit myself when he gets picked.
Anderson has had enough chances and must also fuck off, one good game in ten is not enough.
Berbatov is not a united player, he is quality and arguably the most talented player at the club, but just not cut out for this team. His head is gone and he needs to be sold in January.
Rooney was good in CM, few more games there and he COULD be a long term Scholes replacement. This means we need to buy at least one more quality striker to replace him though.
Too many players in the team at the minute who don’t deserve to wear the shirt.
what a cunt anderson is – i’ve been banging on about how his general shitness forces rooney to drop into midfield to do andertwats shift and now Fegal has simply formalised the process by making rooney a midfielder
rooney will end up like fletcher, burnt out chasing the ground that cunto anderson and bollockless carrick should be covering
if ever you needed proof that anderson is the biggest fraud since DJDJ this is it.
it’s a simple theory – anderson is shit, defence (evra) and midfield (fletcher, carrick ) and attack (rooney suffer).
a disgrace, a fool, an incompentent excuse for an EPL footballer,
he shld be an extra in the next predator film
Couldnt agree more, his time is up. Hes had his run in the team and not taken his chance. Cleverly is our best central mid at the moment, bit worrying seeing as he only just came back from loan. We are a different team when he plays. Fergie has done the right thing to rest him and wait till hes 100%, hes going to be an important player for the rest of the season.
For all those getting excited, Rooney is a temporary solution in midfield, no way he will play there regularily.
well you say that, but you forget fergies a cunt, so he might keep him there in order to keep bollockless berbatov happy, since clearly how can you possibly leave him out after his wondershows against aldershot and leeds