Sir Alex Ferguson: Man United facing defensive crisis ahead of new season

Sir Alex Ferguson admits Manchester United face a defensive crisis ahead of their Premier League opener against Everton

rio ferdinand
Rio Ferdinand is Sir Alex Ferguson's only fully fit centre-half Photo: TSR

rio ferdinand

Sir Alex Ferguson admits Manchester United are faced with a defensive headache ahead of their Premier League opener against Everton.

Nemanja Vidić has returned from a season-ending knee injury, playing 45 minutes in United’s friendly defeat by Barcelona on penalties, while Rio Ferdinand also completed Wednesday’s match unscathed.

But Ferguson will be without Chris Smalling, who has been ruled out for three months following foot surgery, while Jonny Evans is a doubt as he struggles to be fit for the trip to Goodison Park on 20 August.

In addition, England defender Phil Jones has been sent home from United’s pre-season tour with a back injury, and Ferguson revealed he may be forced to use Michael Carrick in defence as a temporary measure.

“Evans is recovering from an operation,” Ferguson told United’s website. “Smalling is out for three months. Jones got a muscle injury in his back and was sent home from Norway.

“So the area we’re concerned about is centre-back. Evans won’t be ready for the start of the season. He won’t be far away but he won’t be ready.

“Smalling is out and I can’t give you an update with Jones because we’ve not fully diagnosed that. But Michael Carrick was absolutely brilliant [in Sweden] with his passing the ball and his interceptions. He was fantastic.”

Earlier this week, Vidić revealed his frustration at being sidelined since December as United were pipped to the Premier League crown by Manchester City.

“It was frustrating, but obviously I knew I would be out for six months,” Vidić said. “I tried to make the best of it, to work hard and when I come back to be the same as I was before the injury.

“This was my target and we’ll see how good a job I did in that six months. It’s hard, but it’s part of the football career.

“Any sportsman has the risk of injuries and hopefully this is the past and better days are coming for me.”

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