Tag Archives: nemanja

Nemanja Vidic wants Cristiano Ronaldo back at Manchester United

Vidic: Don't rule out Ronaldo's return to Old Trafford after he's done at the Bernabeu

By
Graeme Yorke

PUBLISHED:

01:09 GMT, 5 March 2013

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UPDATED:

01:09 GMT, 5 March 2013

Nemanja Vidic has refused to rule out the possibility that he could one day be reunited with Cristiano Ronaldo at Manchester United.

The Red Devils centre back will face off against his former team-mate when Sir Alex Ferguson’s men take on Real Madrid at Old Trafford in the second leg of the last-16 Champions League tie.

But despite his manager claiming the prospect of Ronaldo return in the red of United is implausible, Vidic believes it is a possibility.

Facing off: Nemanja Vidic (right) and Cristiano Ronaldo (left) will play against one another on Tuesday

Facing off: Nemanja Vidic (right) and Cristiano Ronaldo (left) will play against one another on Tuesday

Not impossible: Ronaldo could return to Old Trafford, according to his former team-mate Vidic

Not impossible: Ronaldo could return to Old Trafford, according to his former team-mate Vidic

The 31-year-old Serbian told the Daily Telegraph: ‘I could see it [Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United]. He is a United supporter and he still follows United, he still misses the club and the environment here, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him come back.

‘It would be a big ask for many reasons, but I would love to see him here.

‘I don’t know what atmosphere he has at Madrid, so I can’t really talk about that, but all I can say is that I enjoyed playing with him, he enjoyed it here and it will be great to see him.’

Vidic also believes that the Portugal captain is on par with Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, who has beaten Ronaldo to the Ballon d’Or four years in a row.

On par: Vidic believes Ronaldo (right) is as good as Lionel Messi (left)

On par: Vidic believes Ronaldo (right) is as good as Lionel Messi (left)

He added: 'They are different players, totally different.

'But in recent years, Barcelona have won everything and I think that is why people have put Ronaldo to one side.

'I have played with him and trained with him and I know how many sacrifices he made to be where he is.'

Happy times: Ronaldo (right) celebrates alongside Vidic (left) during his Manchester United days

Happy times: Ronaldo (right) celebrates alongside Vidic (left) during his Manchester United days

Danny Welbeck dilemma for Man United as Sir Alex Ferguson loathe to drop striker for Wayne Rooney

Welbeck dilemma for Man United as Sir Alex loathe to drop striker for fit-again Rooney

By
Joe Bernstein

PUBLISHED:

22:55 GMT, 19 January 2013

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UPDATED:

22:55 GMT, 19 January 2013

Manchester United manager Sir Alex
Ferguson has revealed a softer side ahead of his biggest selection
headache of the season against Tottenham.

Ferguson will explain privately to
players left out of the mouthwatering game at White Hart Lane why they
haven't been included. He says the days of simply pinning up the
teamsheet without any discussion are over.

All aboard: Alex Ferguson and his players wait for the train to London on Saturday

All aboard: Alex Ferguson and his players wait for the train to London on Saturday

Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Shinji Kagawa are all fit to start for United at White Hart Lane but Danny Welbeck's man-of-the-match performance against Liverpool last weekend means Ferguson is loathe to drop the England youngster.

United's injury worries in defence have also eased with Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic available to compete with fitagain Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, who were outstanding in the midweek FA Cup win against West Ham when United kept only their third clean sheet at Old Trafford since September.

Ferguson said: 'You want to be able to say to someone “I'm leaving you out not because you did not play well last week – you played great – but I'm going to pick a different team”.

Police escort: The Man United players board the train to London

Police escort: The Man United players board the train to London

'It's difficult to leave players out. You have to speak to them. The days of just putting a team up on the notice board are gone. The stats of players' running performance over the last 10 years have soared. It's amazing. As the game gets quicker and more energy gets spent you have to think more about picking your teams. Players do accept being left out now. I'm not saying they enjoy it but they handle it not too badly.'

Rooney and Van Persie could start together for the first time since Rooney was injured in mid-December. United will be keen to avenge a 3-2 home defeat by Spurs in September. Spurs have never completed the League double over United in the Premier League era.

Manchester United stars at Old Trafford for charity gala in aid of UNICEF

Manchester United stars suited and booted for charity dinner at Old Trafford

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UPDATED:

23:51 GMT, 19 December 2012

The stars of Manchester United were out in force on Wednesday night for the club's annual gala dinner.

Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand fronted the star-studded cast arriving at Old Trafford for the dinner in aid of charity UNICEF.

Questioning: Rio Ferdinand is joined by Nemanja Vidic, Wayne Rooney and co on stage at Manchester Unted's gala dinner

Questioning: Rio Ferdinand is joined on stage by Nemanja Vidic, Wayne Rooney and co at Unted's gala dinner

Cheer up, Ryan: A rather glum looking Giggs poses for a picture with team-mates Rooney and Fletcher

Cheer up, Ryan: A rather glum looking Giggs poses for a picture with team-mates Rooney and Fletcher

Rio Ferdinand and Wayne Rooney

Chris Smalling

Double act: Rio Ferdinand and Wayne Rooney strike a pose with Chris Smalling and partner Sam Cooke

Sir Alex Ferguson however was a notable absentee.

The United boss, whose secrets behind
his unrivalled success at Old Trafford were in part revealed following an
unprecedented study by Harvard University, didn't join his side at the
black-tie affair despite his name being mentioned on the official
invite.

Patrice Evra

Darren Fletcher

Suit you, sir: Patrice Evra and Darren Fletcher look the part as they arrive at the home of Manchester United

Happy: Hernandez shares a joke with Valencia while Cleverley, Young and Welbeck are all smiles (below)

Happy: Hernandez shares a joke with Valencia while Cleverley, Young and Welbeck are all smiles (below)

Happy: Hernandez shares a joke with Valencia while Cleverley, Young and Welbeck are all smiles (below)

The United boss is unlikely to be
happy that his side playing three games in seven days over the Festive
period starting with a tricky trip to Swansea on Sunday.

United will begin the tough run of games with a six-point cushion over rivals Manchester City as they
attempt to wrestle back the Premier League trophy to the red half of the
city.

SHINJI KAGAWA

Jonny Evans

Thumbs up: Shinji Kagawa (left) and Jonny Evans with his girlfriend Kate Wathall

In the swing: United veteran Ryan Giggs arrives at the star-studded evening at Old Trafford

In the swing: United veteran Ryan Giggs arrives at the star-studded evening at Old Trafford

Men in black: Tom Cleverley, Ashley Young and Danny Welbeck pose for the assorted media

Men in black: Tom Cleverley, Ashley Young and Danny Welbeck pose for the assorted media

Nick Powell

Alexander Buttner

Picture perfect: Summer signings Nick Powell and Alexander Buttner with their respective partners

Lat year's gala raised 130,000 for
charity and some punters would have paid in excess of 3,500 a ticket
for last night's do which included a three-course meal, free bottle of
wine and a VIP drinks reception at the United museum, according to the
club's website.

Catherine Tyldesley

Catherine Tyldesley

Red Devil: Coronation Street actress Catherine Tyldesley arriving at Old Trafford for the gala dinner

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson rules out buying Theo Walcott or anybody else in January

Fergie rules out buying Walcott or anybody else in January

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UPDATED:

22:48 GMT, 15 December 2012

Sir Alex Ferguson will not be buying Theo Walcott – or anybody else in January.

The Manchester United manager, who
saw his team maintain their six-point lead over neighbours Manchester
City with a 3-1 win over Sunderland on Saturday, is adamant he will not be
doing any business in the transfer window unless it is to allow several
of his reserve-team players to go out on loan.

Out of the running: Manchester United will not join the bidding if Arsenal decide to cash in on Theo Walcott

Out of the running: Manchester United will not join the bidding if Arsenal decide to cash in on Theo Walcott

Ferguson, who rarely takes advantage of the mid-season opportunity to augment his first-team squad, believes he has enough resources to cope with challenging for the Premier League title and the European and FA Cups.

'I will not be bringing anybody in, in January – definitely not,' he confirmed.

It means that while title rivals City are targeting Atletic Bilbao's Fernano Llorente; Chelsea are ready to splash on Atletico Madrid's Radamel Falcao and Walcott and Liverpool want Chelsea's Daniel Sturridge and Tom Ince from Blackpool, the United boss will stick with what he has as the club chase a 20th league title.

Boost: Vidic returned against Sunderland

Boost: Vidic returned against Sunderland

Walcott's future at Arsenal is in doubt with the club refusing to agree to his contract demands. But if the Gunners decide to cash in on the winger in January, he is now more likely to end up at Stamford Bridge than Old Trafford.

Ferguson's confidence comes from now having a fully fit squad at his disposal after skipper Nemanja Vidic returned to the team as a second-half substitute against Sunderland.

'It will take him a bit of time but that is a start,' Ferguson said. 'He is a warrior and he is our captain. He always battles for you and sticks his head on that ball in the penalty area. That is what he is great at.'

Goals from Robin van Persie, Tom Cleverley and Wayne Rooney were enough to claim all three points and Ferguson added: 'People keep saying we are weak in midfield but these guys are very good players.'

Nemanja Vidic back for Manchester United against Sunderland

Vidic boost for Fergie as Man United captain returns after three months on sidelines

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UPDATED:

15:49 GMT, 14 December 2012

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson admits question marks will remain over Nemanja Vidic's fitness until the Serbian proves he has fully recovered from two lots of knee surgery.

Vidic has played just 13 times since injuring his calf in the opening Barclays Premier League game of last season at West Brom.

After spending two months on the sidelines, Vidic was only eight games into his comeback when he ruptured his cruciate ligaments during a Champions League game in Basle that ended his entire campaign.

Boost: Nemanja Vidic is back in the Manchester United squad to face Sunderland

Boost: Nemanja Vidic is back in the Manchester United squad to face Sunderland

The 31-year-old resisted the
temptation to rush back earlier than expected so he would be fully
recovered in time for pre-season.

However, just five games in, he reported discomfort in his knee which condemned Vidic to undergo more surgery.

Now the Serbian is back for Saturday's Premier League encounter with Sunderland.

But, recalling the nightmare Gary
Neville had after having his ankle broken against Bolton in 2007,
Ferguson accepts Vidic's fitness cannot be taken for granted just yet.

'Getting an injury is an issue for
players going into their late 20s and early 30s because they start to
wonder how many years they've got left,' said Ferguson.

'For instance, Gary Neville was 32 when he got his injury and he never really recovered from it.

'He had recurring injuries – it was
his calf, then it was his groin, then it was his hamstring, his ankle,
it was just a catalogue of injury after injury simply because at that
age recovery is a bit more difficult.'

Ferguson has yet to decide whether Vidic will start against Sunderland.

However, with the Christmas campaign looming, there are lots of matches for the defender to get involved in.

And Ferguson has no doubt the former Red Star Belgrade man can make a positive contribution.

'We hope we've given him the proper
rehabilitation,' said Ferguson. 'He's not had a lot of football so it is
an issue, but we're hoping he sails through.

Eyes on the prize: Wayne Rooney (centre) looks focused as the United players train at Carrington

Eyes on the prize: Wayne Rooney (centre) looks focused as the United players train at Carrington

'There will be opportunities for him because he brings that great experience, that warrior type of defending he's for.

'I don't know whether I will start
him tomorrow but at least we have him back and given the number of
injuries we've had to defenders over the last two or three years, it's a
bonus for us.'

Meanwhile, Ferguson also confirmed Shinji Kagawa would begin training with the first-team again after a two-month absence.

However, Jonny Evans has been ruled out of the Sunderland match with a hamstring injury.

'I felt it would be a problem for Jonny at the start of the second half last week,' said Ferguson.

Ferguson also confirmed Shinji Kagawa would begin training with the first-team again after a two-month absence.

However, Jonny Evans has been ruled out with a hamstring injury.

'I felt it would be a problem for Jonny at the start of the second half last week,' said Ferguson.

Ferguson insists revenge will not be a factor for his side this weekend.

The United camp were irritated at the way Sunderland fans reacted so gleefully when Sergio Aguero scored his injury-time winner at the Etihad Stadium to earn Manchester City the title last term.

After beating Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, the Red Devils players were still on the pitch when Aguero's strike went in.

Fun and games: Forwards Javier Hernandez (left) and Danny Welbeck have a laugh during training on Friday

Fun and games: Forwards Javier Hernandez (left) and Danny Welbeck have a laugh during training on Friday

At the time, Ferguson was unhappy, whilst Wayne Rooney said in his autobiography that Sunderland was a fixture he would be looking out for more keenly than usual this term.

However, it seems that will not be part of the Scot's team talk.

'It was disappointing given the number of players we have given them down the years, but there was no malice in it and there is no element of revenge,' said Ferguson.

'Winning the game is more important for us given what we achieved last week.

'Now we really need to kick on and make sure we retain our lead at the top of the league.'

The hosts will be strongly fancied to beat a Black Cats outfit who have struggled so badly this term.

Quick feet: Ashley Young follows Rooney's lead as the United players prepare for the visit of Sunderland

Quick feet: Ashley Young follows Rooney's lead as the United players prepare for the visit of Sunderland

Only a home win over Reading on Tuesday allowed Sunderland to scramble out of the bottom three.

However, Ferguson does not believe manager Martin O'Neill deserves the stick he has been getting.

'There was a question asked of Martin last week about whether he still had self-belief that was absolutely ridiculous,' said Ferguson.

'This is a guy who won three times in Scotland, reached the UEFA Cup final and League Cup final with Leicester.

'It was an insult to ask him a question like that because he is an outstanding manager.'

Nemanja Vidic set to return for Manchester United after injury

Fergie's early Xmas present: Vidic return perfectly timed as United strive to shore up their leaky defence in quest for trophies

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UPDATED:

14:26 GMT, 3 December 2012

The sight of Manchester United’s defence at sixes and sevens as they struggled to contain an enterprising opponent was once as rare as a white Christmas.

But this season has seen a succession of calamitous moments and unnecessary shipped goals, the latest coming on Saturday evening when Reading breached the United rearguard three times in half an hour.

And even if, like in six other Premier League matches this season, they fought back to claim all the points and establish a handy three point lead at the top of the table, there remains genuine worries about their back four.

In the thick of it: Nemanja Vidic nearly gets a whack in the face from David De Gea in Manchester United's opening weekend match with Everton, one of only five matches he's played this season

In the thick of it: Nemanja Vidic nearly gets a whack in the face from David De Gea in Manchester United's opening weekend match with Everton, one of only five matches he's played this season

United have let in 32 goals in 22 matches across all competitions so far this season and have fielded ten different central defensive partnerships featuring nine players (including Scott Wootton, Marnick Vermijl and Michael Keane in the League Cup).

Only the partnership between Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans has offered any kind of stability – they’ve started nine matches together – with a debilitating injury crisis meaning midfielder Michael Carrick has been drafted in on four occasions.

Sir Alex Ferguson will receive a big boost this week though with the return of his captain, Nemanja Vidic, following a two month knee injury lay-off, and the manager will hope the Serb will provide the steel and stability needed.

While Vidic may not be risked in the important Manchester derby this Sunday, he could start against FC Cluj in Wednesday’s dead rubber Champions League tie.

Sixes and sevens: United struggled to get a grip on Reading at the weekend, conceding three times in the first half an hour

Sixes and sevens: United struggled to get a grip on Reading at the weekend, conceding three times in the first half an hour

WITH OR WITHOUT YOU

Premier League matches since August 2011

With Nemanja Vidic

Played: 10 Wins: 8 Draws: 1 Losses: 1

Goals For: 17 (1.70 per game)

Goals Against: 7 (0.70 per game)

Win %: 80 Points per game: 2.50

Without Nemanja Vidic

Played: 43 Win: 32 Draws: 4 Losses: 7

Goals For: 109 (2.53 per game)

Goals Against: 47 (1.09 per game)

Win %: 74 Points per game: 2.33

Source: Opta

Ferguson praised his skipper this weekend and clearly hopes restoring him to this side will help plug the gaps in his porous defence.

He said: ‘I’m hopeful maybe Vidic will play [against Cluj]. I think there’s a good chance he will but it depends on how he feels himself.

‘I knew he was doing really well with the physios. He was doing his football training with them in terms of turning and striking the ball but he came into training last Monday with the first team and did okay.

‘He’s a battler, an absolute competitor. He’s got that dour, uncompromising way of his. He likes defending – that’s what he does.’

Though boosted by the recent return of long-term absentees Chris Smalling and Phil Jones, Ferguson will be delighted at the return of 31-year-old Vidic, if only to avoid a repeat of last season when the defender missed the second half of the season and United ended up trophyless.

Options: Sir Alex Ferguson has been boosted by the return of Chris Smalling (below left), Phil Jones (below right) and Vidic in recent weeks

Options: Sir Alex Ferguson has been boosted by the return of Chris Smalling (below left), Phil Jones (below right) and Vidic in recent weeks

Chris Smalling of Manchester United

Phil Jones of Manchester United

The Opta statistics bear this out – since the start of last season, United have been without Vidic for 43 out of 53 matches in the Premier League.

Without him, United concede, on average, 1.09 goals per game compared to just 0.70 with Vidic in the defence. They also win more often and gain more points.

This season, they have conceded two goals on four occasions in the League and three goals against Tottenham and Reading.

If they are to regain the title and advance in Europe, United know they must stem the flow of goals conceded – and the return of Vidic should help enormously in this regard.

UNITED'S CENTRAL DEFENSIVE PARTNERSHIPS THIS SEASON

Vidic and Carrick – two games, three conceded

Ferdinand and Vidic – two games, two conceded

Evans and Vidic – one game, none conceded

Evans and Ferdinand – nine games, 14 conceded

Wootton and Vermijl – one game, one conceded

Evans and Carrick – one game, two conceded

Wootton and Keane – one game, five conceded

Smalling and Evans – two games, one conceded

Smalling and Ferdinand – two games, three conceded

Jones and Carrick – one game, one conceded

Sir Alex Ferguson named manager of month for October

Ferguson celebrates 26th anniversary with manager of the month award

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UPDATED:

13:47 GMT, 6 November 2012

Sir Alex Ferguson has been named Barclays Premier League Manager of the Month for October on the day he celebrates 26 years in charge of Manchester United.

The 70-year-old led his side to victories over Newcastle, Stoke and Chelsea last month as United look to win back the title from their bitter rivals Manchester City.

Chelsea's Juan Mata was named Player of the Month after scoring two crucial goals against Spurs.

Scroll down for video

All smiles: Sir Alex Ferguson has been named manager of the month for October

All smiles: Sir Alex Ferguson has been named manager of the month for October

'We've got a great set up here, I've got great staff and the players of course, they are the reason I'm getting this award there is no question about that so I am very pleased,' Ferguson said of his 27th monthly gong.

United take on Braga in Portugal looking to cement their place at the top of Champions League Group H.

Ferguson's men have won their opening three games and a draw on Wednesday night will all but secure qualification.

‘It depends on the result of the
other game,’ said the United boss. ‘I’m hoping that Galatasaray get a
result over in Cluj and make it easier for us.'

Main man: Ferguson (left) prepares his side for their Champions League clash with Braga

Main man: Ferguson (left) prepares his side for their Champions League clash with Braga

‘I’ll be making some changes for
Wednesday and we want to win. If we can get the win it’s better, but we
want to make sure we qualify first.’

After seeing captain Nemanja Vidic
ruled out until after Christmas, Ferguson is looking forward to the
return of Chris Smalling and Phil Jones to relieve some of the pressure
on veteran defender Rio Ferdinand.

Smalling
is back in full training following surgery on a broken metatarsal,
while Jones is expected to start work this week after recovering from
knee surgery.

Meanwhile, Chelsea playmaker Mata was delighted his goalscoring exploits were recognised.

'My main job is to assist not to score but of course the best feeling, if you are a football player, is scoring goals so this month has been very good for me,' he said.

The Spaniard also reckons Wednesday night's crucial Champions League clash with Shakhtar
Donetsk should be treated like a final.

In form: Juan Mata (centre) has been named player of the month after impressing for Chelsea

In form: Juan Mata (centre) has been named player of the month after impressing for Chelsea

The Blues go into the match knowing a
second defeat in a fortnight against the Ukrainian Premier League
champions would leave them with a mountain to climb to avoid becoming
the first reigning Champions League winners to fail to reach the
knockout stage.

Mata, who has been one of Chelsea's top performers during the early parts of the season, knows what a stern challenge Shakhtar pose and will treat the meeting as a cup final.

'It's time to move on and to focus on the Champions League match this Wednesday. It's like a final for us if we want to finish first in our group,' he wrote on his official online blog.

'Besides, in Ukraine, Shakhtar proved to be a top team who are able to beat anyone. Even so, we always have a great support at the Bridge and I'm confident that we will get a victory to face the last two games in a good position. Champions League's nights at the Bridge are always special.'

VIDEO: Barclays Manager of the Month..Sir Alex Ferguson!

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Ryan Shawcross weighs up six-year Stoke deal

Shawcross weighing up six-year deal as Stoke try to ward off Manchester United

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UPDATED:

09:13 GMT, 6 November 2012

Stoke are set for fresh talks with Ryan Shawcross as the Manchester United target considers a new six-year deal to stay at the Britannia Stadium.

Shawcross has 18 months left on his contract but manager Tony Pulis is desperate to tie him down in the next few weeks as United wait in the wings.

Deal or no deal: Ryan Shawcross has a six-year contract on the table

Deal or no deal: Ryan Shawcross has a six-year contract on the table

The Red Devils signed Shawcross as a
15-year-old in 2002 and Old Trafford manager Sir Alex Ferguson admits
his regret at letting the defender leave for the Potters in a 1m move
four years ago.

Ferguson does, however, have a buy-back option which gives him first refusal if any clubs try to sign Shawcross.

The United boss is planning for life after Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic and Shawcross, who is also on Tottenham's radar, fits the bill.

Ferguson, in his programme notes when United played Stoke last month, wrote: 'I was delighted to see him called up for the England squad because he is a quality player I have wished – particularly of late – was still at Old Trafford.

'The problem was that at the time of his release we had an especially strong group of young centre-halves and it was becoming impossible to give them all games at the level their progress warranted.

'We had Jonny Evans, Gerard Pique, Ryan Shawcross, Craig Cathcart and Paul McShane and something had to give. We made the right decision keeping Jonny Evans but I'm not so sure about letting Shawcross join Stoke.'

United target: Shawcross (centre) was back at Old Trafford last month

United target: Shawcross (centre) was back at Old Trafford last month

Braga v Manchester United: Darren Fletcher and Nick Powell miss training

Fletcher hands United injury concern ahead of Braga clash after sitting out training

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UPDATED:

12:15 GMT, 6 November 2012

Midfielders Darren Fletcher and Nick Powell sat out Manchester United training ahead of Wednesday's Champions League trip to Braga.

The pair were not involved at the club's Carrington complex on Tuesday morning, with longer-term absentees Phil Jones (back and knee), Shinji Kagawa and Nemanja Vidic (both knee) also on the sidelines.

Defender Chris Smalling, who has been making progress in his rehabilitation from a broken metatarsal, did train.

Eye on the ball: Wayne Rooney (centre) trains with his Manchester United team-mates on Tuesday

Eye on the ball: Wayne Rooney (centre) trains with his Manchester United team-mates on Tuesday

Portugal, here we come: United striker Danny Welbeck (right) at Carrington ahead of the trip to Braga

Portugal, here we come: United striker Danny Welbeck (right) at Carrington ahead of the trip to Braga

United are in a comfortable position in Group H with maximum points from their opening three games.

A draw in Braga on Wednesday night will give United the 10 points Ferguson hopes will effectively clinch qualification.

‘It depends on the result of the other game,’ said the United boss. ‘I’m hoping that Galatasaray get a result over in Cluj and make it easier for us.

Hands up who's going to be 34! Rio Ferdinand will celebrate his birthday on Wednesday

Hands up who's going to be 34! Centre-back Rio Ferdinand will celebrate his birthday on Wednesday

Golden oldies: United manager Sir Alex Ferguson (left) talks with Paul Scholes (centre) and Ryan Giggs

Golden oldies: United manager Sir Alex Ferguson (left) talks with Paul Scholes (centre) and Ryan Giggs

‘I’ll be making some changes for
Wednesday and we want to win. If we can get the win it’s better, but we
want to make sure we qualify first.’

After seeing captain Nemanja Vidic ruled out until after Christmas, Ferguson is looking forward to the return of Chris Smalling and Phil Jones to relieve some of the pressure on veteran defender Rio Ferdinand.

Smalling is back in full training following surgery on a broken metatarsal, while Jones is expected to start work this week after recovering from knee surgery.

Super van: Striker Robin van Persie (centre) shows off his skills in preparation for the Champions League tie

Super van: Striker Robin van Persie (centre) shows off his skills in preparation for the Champions League tie

Airborne: Rooney looked to be enjoying himself in a committed training session

Airborne: A committed Rooney looked to be enjoying himself, and Patrice Evra (right) seemed impressed

Ferguson added: ‘Smalling’s training
fine. I think (he could play) maybe not next week but the week after
because we want to make sure he’s back and stays back.

‘It gives me options to make sure
that Ferdinand is fresh for all these games and I don’t have to worry
about playing him Saturday, Wednesday, Saturday, Wednesday. That’s an
important issue.’

Nemanja Vidic out until end of December

Blow for United as skipper Vidic ruled out until Christmas with knee injury

PUBLISHED:

15:50 GMT, 2 November 2012

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UPDATED:

15:59 GMT, 2 November 2012

United skipper Nemanja Vidic is likely to be sidelined until the festive period.

Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed to MUTV that he does not expect his commanding centre-back to return to action until late December.

Missing man: Nemanja Vidic won't play again until December

Missing man: Nemanja Vidic won't play again until December

After recovering from a cruciate ligament injury sustained in last year's Champions League exit at Basel, the Serbian suffered another knee problem that required surgery.

'I think we're talking around December for Vidic,' Ferguson said. 'Maybe around Christmas time.'