MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 08: Paul Scholes of Manchester United in action during the FA Cup Third Round match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on January 8, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Perhaps the only piece of good news to emerge from Wednesday's defeat by Wigan Athletic is that no new injuries occurred according to Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson. The United boss held his weekly press conference today ahead of Sunday's clash with Aston Villa and during it, he revealed that Paul Scholes was merely rested versus the Latics and that the 37-year-old midfielder would be available on Sunday.
"There's no injuries from Wednesday, which is probably the only thing we can take out of the game. We are disappointed to lose that game, so Sunday is important for us. Hopefully, we get back on track. Paul has shown his influence since he has come back. We did the right thing resting him on Wednesday. It may not have looked like that to the fans but, after playing on Sunday and then having another match three days later, we did the right thing. He will play on Sunday and he will be fresh."
- Ferguson | Source: ManUtd.com
Fergie further shared these thoughts about the defeat:
"We have to put it in a bit of perspective. You drop points in the second half of the season. We have done it most years. There has been an odd year when we have gone on a long run without losing - the Treble year - and another one where Ruud [van Nistelrooy] scored something like nine games in a row. A couple of years back, we lost 4-1 to Liverpool and won the league by nine points. You do drop points on the run-in. [Manchester] City and ourselves have both experienced that. From the position we were in a few months ago, to where we are today, we have to be delighted.The great part of our club is that we do recover, and we have to recover from Wednesday. How Wigan are at the bottom of that league, I don't understand. They play as good a football as anyone in the league. They dominated us in the first half and deserved to win."
Fergie on Roberton Mancini saying the five-point gap is too big to overcome for Manchester City in this title race:
"I think he has maybe picked the wrong time to say it. There are still five games to go. The twists and turns of the Premier League are fascinating. We experienced that last year. We had to play a vital game against Chelsea and won. Experience helped us that day. Hopefully it does again. Sunday's game is the one to focus on."
On Sunday and the opponent Villa:
"I think Villa are probably safe but you never know. They are six points clear with five games left, so they can't be dead sure. As they were against Liverpool and Stoke, they will be very determined. After Sunday - hopefully we win - we have four games left. Eventually, you whittle them all away and you are left with none. Hopefully, we will achieve what we want to achieve."
On Alex McLeish:
"He is a very capable manager. He’s had some criticism from fans but has handled it very well. I've known him since he was a little kid. He was always a very receptive and intelligent young man. He was a great player and had a good career. He did a great job for Scotland and at Birmingham, and will do a good job at Villa given time."
Since there are no new injuries, I assume that means the injury situation remains the same. Anderson, Michael Owen, and Anders Lindegaard remain out but each is possible to return during the run-in. Nemanja Vidic and Darren Fletcher are still unavailable for the remainder of the season.