Injury-hit United bank on young turks to deliver

Injury-hit United bank on young turks to deliver

Manager Alex Ferguson had ruled him out of Tuesday’s last-16 second leg as the Portuguese recovers from a gashed leg but seemed to change his mind before the French champions head to Old Trafford following last month's 0-0 draw in Marseille.
“Nani has had the stitches removed and has a chance for Tuesday,” Ferguson was quoted as saying by the Manchester Evening News on Sunday. “He’s done some work on the bike, but the problem is that he hasn’t trained yet.”

Marseille only needed to have looked at United’s team sheet for Saturday’s FA Cup quarterfinal against Arsenal to witness Ferguson’s ability to shock, as he named a lineup with only one recognised midfielder which still beat the Londoners 2-0.
Grappling with a raft of injuries, and wanting to rest the likes of Darren Fletcher, Michael Carrick, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes, Ferguson drafted in full backs Rafael, Fabio and John O’Shea who performed well in midfield.

United were boosted by winger Antonio Valencia coming through 45 minutes on Saturday, his first appearance since breaking and dislocating his ankle in September.
He looked sharp enough to be a viable replacement for Nani if the Portuguese sits out the game as had been expected following last Sunday’s injury.

The English side have the upper hand at Old Trafford where they are undefeated this season and where they have never lost to French opposition, although a score draw would put the visitors through.

Marseille could benefit from insider knowledge as their Argentine defender Gabriel Heinze knows Old Trafford well from his three years at United from 2004 and he was looking forward to returning to the site of so many good memories.

Premier League leaders United will be bracing themselves for an onslaught from a Marseille side who go into the game lifted by a 2-0 win over Stade Rennes in Ligue 1 at the weekend.

Playmaker Lucho Gonzalez, who netted the second goal against Rennes, was at his brilliant best and France forward Loic Remy opened the scoring.

Bayern on rare high
Bayern Munich defend their one-goal lead over champions Inter Milan on Tuesday buoyed by their biggest win of the season and seemingly unfazed by the departure of coach Louis van Gaal.

Five days after Bayern announced Van Gaal would leave at the end of the season, they demolished Hamburg SV 6-0 on Saturday to restore confidence after three successive defeats.

Former Bayern defender Lucio is a major doubt for Inter. The Brazilian presence is considered crucial with fellow centre-back Walter Samuel already out for the season.

However, happier news for Inter coach Leonardo is that defender Cristian Chivu and midfielder Esteban Cambiasso are back in training after injuries and should start.
With Giampaolo Pazzini cup-tied, Goran Pandev, whose performances have been more impressive of late, is likely to partner the in-form Samuel Eto'o up front.