MARSEILLE - Manchester United
manager Sir Alex Ferguson made light of his injury problems and said
he was expecting to meet a powerful and athletic Olympique
Marseille team in the Champions League on Wednesday.
Veteran midfielder Ryan Giggs is the latest United casualty
and although he is set to be fit for the weekend and defender
Rio Ferdinand is also close to a return, the Premier League
leaders are depleted for the last-16 first-leg trip to France.
"You are working through a really difficult month in
December in terms of the number of games, and then through
January we have had a few games too, and it's just the strain of
it all," Ferguson told a news conference on Tuesday.
"But you know, we have got a strong squad with us and we
"I think they are a very powerful team, very athletic,
strong defenders. They, like us, have a few injuries."
Ferguson is also wary of the raucous reception inside the
Stade Velodrome, where fans create the biggest roar in French
"We know from being here before, and also having been to
many games here, that it's a fantastic atmosphere here, and that
helps Marseille," he said.
Marseille boss Didier Deschamps waxed lyrical about the
Premier League leaders.
"They have won lots of games and lots of titles nationally
and internationally, and evidently this is symbolised by their
manager Ferguson, who is on his 24th season as manager,
which is something very exceptional," he said.
"There's this culture of winning, which you find in big
clubs, they can change players and can lose good players, but
they're replaced by others, and there's always a message passed
on by the older players and the guarantee is the manager."
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