Manchester United return to
the scene of their recent domestic humiliation for Wednesday's
Champions League game at home to Otelul Galati without captain
Nemanja Vidic who has been the tonic easing their recovery.
The centre-back was sent off in the encounter between the
two sides in Romania earlier this month, meaning he will miss
the Group C game at Old Trafford, where United were thumped 6-1
by Premier League leaders Manchester City just over a week ago.
That defeat, which destroyed an 18-month unbeaten home run
and was described by manager Sir Alex Ferguson as the worst in his
career, has been followed by back-to-back away wins and clean
sheets that have owed much to Vidic who missed the City game.
Without the Serb, who had been sidelined since August with a
calf injury before returning against Galati, United's back four
have looked vulnerable and in need of a commanding presence -
exactly what the Romanians will be hoping for.
The English champions were unconvincing against them two
weeks ago but Ferguson was confident enough of a victory to
already be looking ahead to their next home European game
against group leaders Benfica on November 22.
"We have to win on Wednesday, without doubt," the Scot said
on the club website. "We're at home and I
expect us to win and, if we do that, it's in our hands when we
play Benfica at home.
"I expect Benfica to beat Basel [on Wednesday] as they're in
a bit of disarray with [coach] Thorsten Fink going to Hamburg.
We'll hopefully win our game and, when we play Benfica at home,
it'll be the decider in our section."
Since the painful Manchester derby, United have got back to
winning ways with a 3-0 League Cup victory at Aldershot and a
1-0 win at Everton in the league on Saturday and they will be
keen to show the breach of their home fortress was a mere blip.
They have not lost at home in their last nine Champions
League games but they have conceded at least one goal in each of
the last five and let in three in their previous Old Trafford
group game, a surprise 3-3 draw with Basel.
Their European campaign got off to a shaky start with two
draws before beating Galati 2-0 and they sit second in the table
on five points, two behind leaders Benfica and one ahead of
third-placed Basel. Galati have yet to get off the mark.
Ferguson has signalled he will field a strong side against
the Romanians, although he will be without winger Ashley Young
and defender Chris Smalling who have foot injuries while
midfielder Tom Cleverley is doubtful with an ankle problem.
"I don't think there will be a lot of changes," Ferguson
said. "Maybe two or three but no more."
Despite having ground to catch up on Benfica, three-times
European champions United are still aiming to top the group.
"It's always been better to finish first than second,"
Ferguson said. "After getting the first result against Galati
and then playing them again at home, we'll hopefully go into the
Benfica game with eight points. That will be an important
Galati's trip to Manchester is their first to England and
could also prove to be coach Dorinel Munteanu's last match in
Munteanu has been linked by local media to German second
tier club Duisburg.
"I am the Otelul coach and right now I am focusing only on
the Champions League match," he was quoted by Romanian gsp.ro
sports portal as saying.
"It will be an extremely tough match but we hope we can
Manchester United: 1-David de Gea; 3-Patrice Evra, 5-Rio
Ferdinand, 6-Jonny Evans, 4-Phil Jones; 8-Anderson, 16-Michael
Carrick, 17-Nani, 25-Antonio Valencia; 10-Wayne Rooney,
Otelul Galati: 12-Branko Grahovac; 3-Cornel Rapa, 5-Zoran
Ljubinkovic, 18-Sergiu Costin, 23- Adrian Salageanu, 29-Gabriel
Giurgiu, 10-Gabriel Paraschiv, 4-Ioan Filip, 8-Liviu Ion Antal,
11-Sorin Frunza, 19-Bratislav Punosevac
Barcelona's golden boy grabs the headlines again
It's Larsson Jr stealing the show these days
England striker puts pen to paper on permanent deal
The new season is but six weeks away (in the Football League)
Who would you rather have playing for your club?
12 months out, the stars look to the World Cup
Your questions answered by an A to Z of legends
75% of all TV is Bale
On the road to ruin
Adidas Nitrocharge for you
FourFourTwo is brought to you by Haymarket Consumer Media & FourFourTwo is part of Haymarket Sport
| International Licensing | © Haymarket Media Group 2010