The 23-year-old was not included in Sir Alex Ferguson’s squad for the 4-2 victory over the Potters and the United boss said he took the decision to give the summer signing a rest ahead of the Champions League clash.
“Shinji Kagawa didn’t play on Saturday so he can prepare for tomorrow,” said Ferguson. “Also, Stoke’s a different team to any other side he’s played. But mainly it was to give him a rest before tomorrow.”
Ferguson also confirmed that defenders Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra will sit out Tuesday’s group-stage clash, while Ashley Young is back in contention for a place after recovering from a knee injury.
“I’m not playing Rio tomorrow,” said Ferguson. “We have a game on Sunday against Chelsea and it’s a big one for us so I’m leaving a couple of players out. Rio and Patrice Evra are the older players – those are the two main changes for tomorrow. Other than that we’ve got a big squad.
“We’ve got Ashley Young back and he’ll be involved tomorrow. We’ve got Nani, [Antonio] Valencia, [Ryan] Giggs – plenty of wide players. Of course, we also have plenty of central midfield players. So I have an issue in terms of picking the team. Hopefully I get it right.”
United currently top Group H on six points after winning both of their European games.
• United have never lost at home to Portuguese opponents but José Peseiro’s Braga are on a seven-match unbeaten sequence on their travels in Europe.
• United’s home record against Portuguese teams is W8 D3 L0. In addition, they won the first of their three European Cups by beating Benfica 4-1 in the 1968 final at Wembley.
• United have won 100 games in the Champions League, group stage to final.
• Ryan Giggs has scored in a record 16 different Champions League seasons. He is also the competition’s oldest scorer, at 37 years and 289 days.
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