Sir Alex Ferguson admits he is struggling to pick a team for the Manchester derby after confirming Owen Hargreaves is out for five weeks.

Manchester United midfielder Hargreaves started his first game in over two years on Saturday when he was surprisingly selected for the 2-1 win over Wolves.

However, the 29-year-old failed to last 10 minutes after suffering a hamstring injury and Ferguson admitted his gamble had back-fired.

The injury is at least not a recurrence of Hargreaves’ long-standing knee troubles and Ferguson expects the former Bayern Munich man to be out until next month.

Tension

“We were at the stage where we knew Owen’s knee was okay,” said Ferguson.

“His training performances for eight or nine days previously had been terrific. He had done really well, which is why we took the chance.

“But maybe the tension in the build-up for the lad was too much and he suffered because of it.”

Hargreaves’ absence merely adds to the selection problems facing Ferguson for Wednesday’s short trip to City after he was forced to pick an under-strength team for the scrappy win over Wolves.

Ferguson has confirmed veteran midfielder Ryan Giggs will not be fit, while Portuguese winger Nani is doubtful due to a groin injury.

Counting heads

“Ryan is out,” said the United boss. “Nani is doubtful.

“At this stage it doesn’t look as if he will make it. It is not a great position for us to be in. We are counting heads at the moment.”

The likes of Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Carrick sat out the Wolves game, while Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra played despite struggling with illness.

Ferguson, who had also been under the weather prior to the weekend, revealed that the squad had still to fully shake off the effects of a virus.

He added: “We’ve no idea at all (on a side). We’ve still got some players out with ‘flu and we’ve sent some players home.

“We’re not in a good position at the moment, but we have a strong squad. We just carry on.”

Advertisements