Speaking at the pre match press conference ahead of the massive visit to Stamford Bridge on Sunday, Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed the latest team news.
Sir Alex said: “Shinji Kagawa has been ruled out for three to four weeks with a knee injury, similar to the one Ashley Young suffered earlier in the season. Chris Smalling is back training on the football side of things and Phil Jones will hopefully start football training a week on Monday. Everyone else is fit.”
It comes as a massive blow to United that Shinji Kagawa will miss four weeks with fixtures against Chelsea, Arsenal and a tough trip away to Galatasaray coming up but in all honesty, the Japanese playmaker would probably not have played this Sunday.
We will likely set up with a 4-4-2 formation as playing a diamond against Chelsea would give us little to no space in the middle of the park. Our change of tactic at half time against Braga showed the width that our wingers can bring to the side and with Hazard, Oscar, Mata and Ramires, Chelsea would overpower us in the middle if we tried to match up to them.
If his rehabilitation goes well, he will be back in time for the away fixture to Manchester City on 9 December.
It is great news that Smalling is back in training and that Jones isn’t too far away – hopefully we will have some actual defensive choices soon enough.
Here’s the rest of the main points from the press conference.
Sir Alex on playing Chelsea…
“It is always a difficult game at Chelsea. They’ve had a great start to the season and have done really well. They’ve played an interesting formation – something we have to deal with. They’ve bought Oscar and Hazard into the team – similar types of players. They’re adapting to having players like Mata. There is a situation where they’re in behind the front player all of the time. They’re difficult to deal with. They don’t have Drogba so their game had to change anyway.”
Sir Alex on striker options…
“It’s a good problem to have [choosing my front players]. In fairness to all the players they’ve accepted it well when I’ve had to tell them they’re not playing. Chicha was tremendous the other night and is such a dedicated footballer. He trains so well and he got a proper rest in the summer – that has made a difference and helped him.”
Sir Alex on David de Gea…
“That is his strength [shot-stopping]. He’s very quick. At the moment you would say he’s a goal-line goalkeeper, there have been plenty of these keepers over the years. The area which we are looking at is his strength. He’s getting stronger all the time. He’s getting there.