buys of the summer. In the end, it was the Brazilian who had to make do with a spot on the bench.
Darren Fletcher's fitness was also a hot topic. After all, his recent appearances for the Under-21s prompted obvious questions about how close he may be to a surprise return. The midfielder's been sidelined since December 2011 with a serious bowel condition and reports at various stages of his recovery suggested he may never play again.
But Sir Alex admitted the Scotland international would be “under consideration” for a first-team recall should his recovery continue apace. He's now returned to normal weight and should be named in United's 25-man Champions League squad.
All this, as well as talk of Robin van Persie's match fitness (“Ideally I'd have taken him off with 20 minutes to go [against Fulham]”), Nani's availability (“He'll be in Sunday's squad”) and Ashley Young's knee injury (“It's not serious – he'll be ready in a couple of weeks”) left little room for any other topics on Friday morning.
Don't get me wrong: the manager was friendly and forthcoming, providing plenty of information and insight. As a journalist, that's all you can wish for from a press briefing. I just hope that, by the time our next audience with the boss rolls around, we can talk more about football and less about fitness.