United can draw on a strong squad and a great away record to
help them avoid an early Champions League exit, manager Sir Alex
Ferguson said on Tuesday after Dimitar Berbatov was the latest
injured player to be ruled out of the FC Basel match.
The Bulgarian did not recover from an ankle injury in time
to make the trip to Switzerland, where United need a draw on
Wednesday in Group C to secure a place in the last 16.
He is the third United striker to be sidelined, joining
Javier Hernandez and Michael Owen who face another few weeks
out. Anderson has been ruled out until February with a knee
problem, while fellow midfielder Tom Cleverley is also missing.
Ferguson believes he has enough talented players to cope
with the absences as last season's runners-up seek to avoid an
embarrassing group-stage elimination.
"We have had to contend with quite a few injuries this year.
We have a strong squad, that squad will see us through," he told
a news conference.
The three-times European champions have qualified from the
group stage for the last five years in a row and will take some
comfort from the fact they have lost only one away game in the
Champions League since 2007.
"I think we have to rely on our experience away from home.
It's a very, very good record," Ferguson said.
They have also contested three of the last four finals,
giving them the experience Ferguson thinks will equip them to
deal with a Swiss side who were on the verge of beating them at
Old Trafford in September before a late goal made it 3-3.
"I don't think that kind of pressure affects us. If you look
at the number of big games these players play in, these players
have been involved in finals and semi-finals," the Scot said.
"Tomorrow is the same kind of situation, it's a big game.
It's another one."
Basel know the weight of expectation lies on United and are
hoping to capitalise on their underdog status by sneaking a win
that would put them through at the expense of the English club.
"There is more pressure on Manchester United, in 99 percent [of cases] they are absolute favourites. They probably have 13
international players, they are so strong it is mad," the Swiss
club's coach Heiko Vogel told a news conference.
"They can handle the pressure but maybe these one or two
percent can be an advantage for us."
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