Friday 13 December 2019

Ferguson prepares United to face Robben and Ribery despite injury scare

Mark Ogden

Alex Ferguson will prepare his team to face Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery in the Allianz Arena, even though Bayern Mun-ich fear that the attacking pair will both miss tonight's Champions League quarter-final first-leg.

While Robben and Ribery are battling to overcome calf and ankle problems respectively, Ferguson can pick from a full-strength Manchester United squad, with Rio Ferdinand and Wayne Rooney declared fit after missing Saturday's 4-0 victory at Bolton.

But Ferguson admits he is wary of falling into the trap of discounting Bayern's two prized forwards from his thoughts. "I don't know if Robben or Ribery will play, but we will prepare to face those two because they are special players in Bayern's set-up," he said.

"We have to be ready to face the best team Bayern have and that is our approach. If anything changes, it is easy to adjust from playing a strong team to one that is less strong. But from our point of view, Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand are both fit."

Former Chelsea winger Robben missed training yesterday after aggravating a calf problem during Saturday's 2-1 defeat against Stuttgart. And Bayern coach Louis Van Gaal appeared to criticise the Dutch winger by claiming he shouldn't have played on Saturday.

Van Gaal said: "It's clear that Robben is not injured, but you know his problems. His muscles are tired and I have to be sure he is 100pc fit.

"I was the one who said to Arjen that it would be better if he did not play against Stuttgart, but he and the doctor said he could play.

"This is a big game and we cannot have a player who is 80pc fit. We will clearly try everything to get him fit. We need a player like Robben against a team like Manchester United, but if he is not 100pc fit, he won't play."

Van Gaal, who is already without the suspended German international Bastian Schweinsteiger, is expected to name Ribery as a substitute due to concerns over the Frenchman's fitness after a lengthy lay-off through injury.

Bobby Charlton is to lead a United visit today to the village of Kirchtrudering, the site of the 1958 Munich air crash, which took the life of eight Busby Babes. Charlton himself was one of the survivors. (©Daily Telegraph, London)

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