United v Benfica Preview!
Champions League football returns to Old Trafford tonight with a group game against the famous Portuguese side, Benfica!
It`s a game that, with both sides poised on 8 points, go a long way to deciding who finishes top of the group as the knockout stages beckon.
United may be unbeaten in the group fixtures o far, a run of four unbeaten games, but they`ve hardly set the competition alight.
In his pre-match press conference, Sir Alex spoke about his preparations, throughout the tournament, being disrupted by injuries to key players, commenting,
"We have had a few issues which, hopefully, we are gradually getting over."
"At the start of the season you see everyone going through the pre-season and there is not one injury - but then you get hit with a little list."
"It doesn`t disrupt us to a great degree but it does unsettle the balance of the team at times."
"Sometimes we are having to rethink and think about which team we need to win the match whereas sometimes when your team is in full flow you don`t need to worry about it."
Now, although there are still some players unavailable due to injury, you get the impression the ship has been somewhat steadied by the return from injury of Nemanja Vidic.
Continuing though, Sir Alex spoke about the game, remarking,
"It is a big game and a game we recognize as a real European game, with the history of Benfica and ourselves. The number of great games we have had in the past, of curse, always sticks in your memory."
"In the first game against them back in September, I thought we did really well and I was pleased with our performance."
"Possession wise it was good and I thought we deserved the result until the last 15 minutes, when Benfica threatened quite a bit."
"It is a really interesting game for both teams. We both want to win so it should make it quite an open match and, hopefully, we will get the result we want."
A win would stand us in good stead, hopefully as group winners.
With reference to team news, we`re reliably informed that although Wayne Rooney and Jonny Evans missed training on Monday, they will both be available for selection tonight, if required.
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