FOOTBALL NEWS

"They knocked out Basel. From our experience last season, that gives us every respect for Cluj. It tells you they’re a good team."

- Sir Alex Ferguson

01/10/2012 16:25, Report by A Bostock, G Thompson
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Sir Alex wary of Cluj

Sir Alex Ferguson is hoping for improvements at the back as Manchester United take on a Cluj side that's already notched two away goals in Champions League Group H.

The Romanians produced a surprise on Matchday One by beating Braga 2-0 in Portugal and given they're back on their home turf, they could present a problem or two for a Reds defence which uncharacteristically conceded two first-half goals on Saturday.

"I hope the first half on Saturday was [an issue of] awareness," said Sir Alex, referring to Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans playing together for only the second time this season.

"When Jonny and Rio played consistently every week last season [from December when Nemanja Vidic was injured], we got better."

Fitness wise, the main area of concern for Sir Alex isn't defence for a change, it's midfield. The manager's three most experienced men in that department - Michael Carrick, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes - did not travel to Romania for various reasons.

"Carrick didn’t report today, he’s in bed with a virus," Sir Alex confirmed. "Ryan also felt rough this morning and we sent him home. We left Paul Scholes behind.

"Those three players are missing - two with a virus and Paul Scholes because, although he looked great this morning and played great on Saturday, at 37 years of age I can’t expect him to play three games like that [Tottenham, Cluj, Newcastle]."

Sir Alex revealed that United elected to train at Carrington this morning, instead of Cluj's

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