United shut out sorry Carragher
Published 08/03/2011 | 05:00
Jamie Carragher was refused entry to the Manchester United dressing-room on Sunday after attempting to apologise for the challenge that left Nani with a gash so deep that the winger's shin bone was visible through the open wound.
Nani will discover today whether he will be sidelined until next month as a result of the injury inflicted by Carragher's first-half tackle during the 3-1 defeat at Anfield, which resulted in referee Phil Dowd brandishing a yellow card to the Liverpool defender.
Although Carragher made efforts to show his remorse for the injury suffered by Nani, United's coaching staff turned the 33-year-old away due to the anger within the United camp, not only with the challenge, but Dowd's failure to dismiss the player.
Steven Gerrard's actions in urging the injured Nani to "get up" while he lay on the ground with the injury clearly visible also infuriated United's players and staff.
Anger at Carragher's challenge also spread to the directors box, where United chief executive David Gill remonstrated with Mike Riley, head of Premier League referees, over Dowd's response to the incident.
Nani, who had to be substituted as a result of the injury, left Anfield on crutches and United manager Alex Ferguson is already preparing to be without the Portugal international for Saturday's FA Cup quarter-final tie against Arsenal at Old Trafford.
The Champions League second leg against Marseille next Tuesday, followed by the Premier League game at home to Bolton on March 19, are also being viewed as games that Nani is likely to miss.
Nani was assessed by medical staff at United yesterday, but the severity of the wound to his leg, combined with the bruising around the affected area, has forced the club to reassess the injury once swelling has subsided on Tuesday.
With Nani suffering what has been described by United sources as a "very deep gash", there are concerns that the 24-year-old could be out of action until after the international break at the end of this month.
The depth of the cut is the prime concern, with the healing process dependent on the success of stitching. The stitching could burst should Nani return to action too quickly.
Having struggled initially to justify his £17m transfer fee after arriving at Old Trafford from Sporting Lisbon in the summer of 2007, Nani has become an integral member of Ferguson's team this season, scoring 12 goals in all competitions.
His absence could be softened by the return from injury of Antonio Valencia, who has been out since September with a broken ankle, but United are bracing themselves for the prospect of being without Nani until the Premier League clash with West Ham at Upton Park on April 2.
Ecuadorian winger Valencia is close to a first-team return after five months out and the former Wigan player travelled to Anfield on Sunday as an unused member of Ferguson's squad.
The 25-year-old has trained with the first team for the past 10 days and has impressed Ferguson with his fitness and strength of character. However, he is not expected to start against Arsenal.
It is not yet known whether Ferguson will end his self-imposed media blackout prior to the Arsenal fixture, having cancelled last Friday's pre-match press conference and refused to speak to rights-holding broadcasters before or after the defeat at Anfield.
Having been charged by the FA last week for comments made against referee Martin Atkinson, it is understood Ferguson's vow of silence has been fuelled by his reluctance to be pressed on the issue.
But by failing to speak to rights holders such as Sky and local radio, the United manager is in breach of Premier League regulations. Ferguson has not spoken to the BBC, a Premier League rights holder, since 2004.
None of the rights holders have lodged a formal complaint with the Premier League since last week, however. (© Daily Telegraph, London)