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Injuries frustrate Manchester United manager Ferguson

Gary Neville
Defender Gary Neville pulled up with a groin injury in the first half

Sir Alex Ferguson says Manchester United's growing casualty list is leaving him with big selection worries.

Wes Brown and Gary Neville limped off in the 4-0 win at West Ham, leaving the Reds with eight defenders struggling for next week's Champions League tie.

"I don't know where I'm going to get a back four for Tuesday," Ferguson said ahead of the clash at Wolfsburg.

"The injuries in defence are becoming a bit of a headache to us. Michael Carrick stepped in and did very well."

It took a wonder strike from Paul Scholes on the stroke of half-time to break the deadlock at Upton Park before United stepped on the gas in the second half with three goals to kill off the Hammers.

606: DEBATE
Team Pacquiao

It was a match which began with Darren Fletcher at right-back in the absence of Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, Jonny Evans and John O'Shea and following the early exit of Brown and Neville - with a groin problem - United were left fielding an unfamiliar back-four.

Ryan Giggs was forced into playing at left-back, while Patrice Evra was pushed into the middle of defence to partner Carrick.

"Evra must be the smallest centre-half in the world, but he's a good reader of the game. He's quick and determined," Ferguson added.

UNITED'S INJURY WOES
Gary Neville (groin)
Nemanja Vidic (flu)
Rio Ferdinand (calf)
Jonny Evans (calf)
John O'Shea (thigh)
Rafael da Silva (injury)
Fabio da Silva (groin)
Edwin van der Sar (knee)
Wes Brown (limped off)
Owen Hargreaves (knees)

The Scottish boss will be delighted to pick up three points to close the gap on league leaders Chelsea - especially after the Blues defeat at Manchester City - but the lack of defensive options could hamper his team's prospects in the near future with Edwin van der Sar also on the sidelines.

United need a point against Wolfsburg to top Champions League Group B and help avoid a clash with a bigger side in the next round.

On choosing his defence against the German opposition, Ferguson added: "Probably Nemanja Vidic will be back from flu and I'll probably play Carrick alongside him.

"Carrick's got the composure and the pace and it was a good performance in the second half. We used our experience."

West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola was left frustrated after more than matching the Premier League champions until Scholes's crucial strike.

Carrick happy to help out defence

"The first goal scored changed the story of the game," the Italian boss said after seeing his side concede their 10th goal in three league games.

"We were defending well and they didn't create much. We have no complaints - our players gave everything. When you play the champions it's always difficult and if you give them something they will exploit it. The second goal killed us."

As well as dealing with their leading striker Carlton Cole missing for several weeks, Zola had to endure an early substitution for goalkeeper Robert Green (feeling sick) and Zavon Hines (knee problem).

"I might have to put my boots on again," he added. "Right now we are short. We didn't pose enough threat to them. But remember they are the champions and we had young players in our team."



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see also
West Ham 0-4 Man Utd
05 Dec 09 |  Premier League
Saturday football as it happened
05 Dec 09 |  Football
Saturday's football photos
05 Dec 09 |  Football
Man Utd explain Ljajic withdrawal
04 Dec 09 |  Man Utd


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