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Ferdinand will improve - Ferguson

Champions League Group B: Manchester United v CSKA Moscow
Venue: Old Trafford Date: Tuesday, 3 November Kick-off: 1945 GMT
Coverage: BBC Sport website, BBC Radio 5 live and Sky Sports 2

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Ferguson wants win to seal progress

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson says Rio Ferdinand will bounce back following recent criticism.

The 30-year-old, who misses Tuesday's Champions League tie with CSKA Moscow, has struggled with form this season, not helped by a nagging calf injury.

Ferguson said: "We've always had that situation here where your star players have a blip and he'll get criticised.

"No player likes criticism. We all like to be loved and want an arm around our shoulders. Rio will come out of it."

The England central defender is also fighting to be ready for United's Premier League showdown with Chelsea next Sunday.

The former West Ham and Leeds star, who turns 31 at the weekend, missed the first month of the season after tearing a thigh muscle in training and more recently has been coping with a calf injury.

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Some critics have suggested Ferdinand's best days are behind him, and the criticism levels rose again in the recent 2-0 defeat by Liverpool after the defender was easily brushed aside for Fernando Torres to score the opener.

But his Scottish manager is certain the centre-half will soon recover from his injury concerns and be back to his best.

Speaking ahead of the Old Trafford clash with the Russians, the 67-year-old added: "There is no discernible depreciation in his qualities - none for me at all.

Wayne Rooney leaves hospital with baby

"Playing with injuries is not the easiest thing to do and we'll try to get that right.

"Calf injuries can be troublesome. If you don't arrest it and give it proper treatment then you can end up the way we are now, and playing in games when you are not 100% fit."

With central defensive partner Nemanja Vidic also struggling with calf problems, United are likely to start with Jonny Evans and Wes Brown who both played in Saturday's 2-0 win over Blackburn.

Following Monday's news that Wayne Rooney had become a father, striker Michael Owen could well be set for a starting place.

The 29-year-old has scored three times this season in all competitions since his summer move to United and despite the South African World Cup looming, the former Liverpool star insisted his priorities remained closer to home.

Owen focused on club not country

"England is something I don't really think about," said Owen. "It is probably something people talk about a lot more than I think about really.

"The last squad I was in was over a year ago now. I have played for England 89 times and I would love to play for England again.

"I genuinely go to bed thinking that I have got to play well the next day and win games for Manchester United, not that if I score or play well I might get picked for England."



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Champions League results

3 Nov 2009 23:59 UK

Home Team Score Away Team Time
AC Milan 1-1 Real Madrid R
Apoel Nicosia 0-1 FC Porto R
Atletico Madrid 2-2 Chelsea R
Bayern Munich 0-2 Bordeaux R
Besiktas 0-3 Wolfsburg R
Maccabi Haifa 0-1 Juventus R
Man Utd 3-3 CSKA Moscow R
Marseille 6-1 FC Zurich R


see also
Man Utd 3-3 CSKA Moscow
03 Nov 09 |  Europe
Liverpool 2-0 Manchester United
25 Oct 09 |  Premier League
Owen bewildered by match ratings
28 Oct 09 |  Man Utd
Man Utd hope for Ferdinand return
10 Sep 09 |  Man Utd


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