After only coming on as a substitute versus Liverpool, Wayne Rooney is expected to return to the starting XI versus Otelul Galati.
From Bucharest, Romania -- where Manchester United will clash with Otelul Galati in a UEFA Champions League group-stage tie tomorrow -- manager Sir Alex Ferguson revealed team news and some thoughts on the match at a pre-match press conference. The most significant piece of team news is that captain Nemanja Vidic will return from his injury lay-off while Rio Ferdinand has been left back in England so that he can be rested. Wayne Rooney is expected to make his return to the starting XI as well after only being involved versus Liverpool this past Saturday as a substitute. Here are quotes from Fergie on these matters:
"I think Wayne's ready. When he came on [against Liverpool] I thought he was bubbly, full of energy and enthusiasm He was desperate to get on, which was good. I think when he started to watch the game he thought: 'I could be out there.' I think he's okay. Rio played very well on Saturday against Liverpool but we have Vidic with us here and I felt it was a good opportunity to give Rio a break. Playing three games in seven days is a lot to ask. We felt it was the right moment to give him a rest."
Fergie also had this to say about the need for United to collect three points in both upcoming matches versus their Romanian opponent after their shocking 3-3 draw with FC Basel at home:
"I think we got complacent after going 2-0 up so early on and didn't pay enough attention to defending. But we rescued it, which was important. Maybe it was the best thing that could happen as we got a wake-up call but still salvaged something. We need to win both games [against Galati] and hopefully we'll do that. And we'll hope for one of two things from the other teams - either they both draw or one wins both games. We don't want them to win a game each as the group would then be very tight."
Fergie further commented on his scouting of the upcoming opponent and the pitch at the National Stadium in Bucharest. Because Otelul Galati's home stadium is not up to the standards of UEFA for Champions League play, this match has been moved to Romania's national stadium:
"I had no idea where they were from. I don't know if they've changed their name like a lot of European teams but I'd never heard of them. We know plenty now and know enough about them. We've got all the videos on them but the most important thing is I believe they've changed the pitch. It looks okay and is proper standard now. Howard Webb was referee for the France game there recently and reported it as not being suitable so they eplaced it. It's still in our hands and we're capable of winning the matches. We have to win these two games as we've only got two points while Benfica and Basel are on four. I will have one eye on City but the thing is we've got five days before the derby game so we'll be prepared for Sunday quite easily."
Rafael and Tom Cleverley are also progressing from their injuries but neither is available for tomorrow's match. United's upcoming match versus Manchester City is a massive league tie but the Reds need to be focused on Otelul Galati. Anything less than three points by United in Bucharest will seriously put into doubt United's ability to win their group -- it would even put pressure on them to get results in their final three group-stage ties just so that they can advance to the knock-out stages. It's a big week for United.