Tuesday, January 1, 2008
Tevez injury worry for Man United
Carlos Tevez is a major doubt for Manchester United's FA Cup clash with Aston Villa next Saturday.
After scoring the only goal to beat Birmingham at Old Trafford on Tuesday afternoon,
the South American eventually had to be replaced after failing to shrug off a
hefty first-half bang on the ankle.
Tevez was carried into the tunnel by two members of the United's backroom
staff after the final whistle, with manager Sir Alex Ferguson confirming it is
unlikely he will be involved at Villa Park next week.
'It was a bad tackle and the longer the game went on, the worse the injury
got,' said Ferguson.
'In the end, we had to bring Carlos off. We will assess him tomorrow to see
what the damage is but he is doubtful for Saturday now.'
Happily, Ferguson should have a ready-made replacement for Tevez in Wayne
Rooney, who missed a second successive game with a virus but is showing signs of
being fine for the weekend.
The Scot explained: 'It would have been a bit of a risk to play Wayne today
but he should be fine for Saturday.'
Ferguson was less than impressed by his team's efforts, describing United's performance as 'careless'.
Certainly, Tevez's goal - with the striker finding Cristiano Ronaldo with an
overhead kick before racing on to an inspired back-heeled return pass - was at
odds with the rest of a mundane contest.
Tevez also hit the post on two occasions, although even this failed to lift a
crowd which was almost silent on occasion, drawing a stinging rebuke from
'The crowd were dead,' he remarked. 'It was like a funeral out there.
'It was the quietest I have heard here for some time and the atmosphere today
did not help us.
'There have been periods like that in the past. Some years ago, when we were
dominant, the crowd came to be entertained.
'Sometimes we need them to get behind us. They can help produce the right
performance but we did not get that today.'
Instead, the flat atmosphere only induced more sloppiness from United ranks,
which would have proved costly if Mikael Forssell had found the target with two
'It only takes a second to score and we made it difficult for ourselves. it
was a careless performance,' added the United boss.
'Our finishing was shoddy and by being as careless as as we did, we could
have been embarrassed.'
Ferguson admitted Tevez's strike was the one bright spot on an otherwise
disappointing day, although his team do remain two points adrift of leaders
'It marvellous goal and I think Carlos will go on to get 20 now,' said the
Scot, who celebrated his 66th birthday yesterday.
'Once we are over the New Year period, we can have a look at where we are.
But effectively, the season starts now and it could be nip and tuck right to the
Birmingham boss Alex McLeish was proud of his team's efforts, although that
will not stop him trying to bring in some new faces during the transfer window.
'People said I was pitting my wits against Sir Alex Ferguson but it is like
using a pop-gun to take on a machine gun,' he said.
'Manchester United had £125million worth of talent on the pitch, so you have
to be realistic, even though I felt we could get something out of the game.
'I am trying to add some new faces during the window because we are
desperately short of bodies.
'We have gone into our fourth game this week with more or less the same
players and we just cannot rotate the way Sir Alex can.'