Sunday, March 08, 2009

Fergie admits selection concerns

United might have strolled into the FA Cup semi-finals on Saturday, but Fergie is a worried man.

The 4-0 demolition job on Fulham was a terrific way to warm up ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League showdown with Inter Milan, but Sir Alex is concerned about picking the right team for their midweek mission.

The second-leg encounter with Jose Mourinho’s boys is delicately poised at 0-0 and Fergie knows he has to put the right players on the pitch at Old Trafford if United are to successfully defend their Champions League crown.

Carlos Tevez started at Craven Cottage and was outstanding scoring twice, but he is likely to revert to bench-warming duty against Inter.

Dimitar Berbatov was on the bench and he's likely to replace him with Cristiano Ronaldo, who was rested, also back in the fold.

"My biggest concern is picking the right team, it's not easy for me leaving out great players in every game.

"I hope at the end of the season it will be recognised that everyone has made a contribution,” said Ferguson.

United have a slight worry over Rio Ferdinand, who went over on his ankle at Fulham, but Inter Milan are set to travel with just two fit central defenders after losing Marco Materazzi and Nicolas Burdisso to injury on Saturday.

Mourinho said: "Christian Chivu, Walter Samuel, Materazzi and Burdisso are out."

It certainly sounds bleak for Mourinho with only centre-backs Ivan Cordoba and Nelson Rivas fit for the clash, but Fergie won’t read too much into it - he's heard all the mind games before, but the news is sure to keep United's football odds down.

United are 1.54 to qualify and 5.3 to win the tournament outright.


By Phil Tomlinson, a professional sports writer who blogs about football and football betting.

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