Sir Alex Ferguson has ruled Ashley Young and Jonny Evans out of Manchester United’s FA Cup fourth round meeting with Fulham at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Speaking during his weekly press conference at Carrington, the boss explained that both players are not fully fit but did complete some work during this week’s warm-weather training camp in Qatar.
"Jonny Evans and Ashley Young are still not 100% fit," Sir Alex revealed. "We had a good week training in Qatar and it was a great time to go there – we couldn’t have picked a better moment actually when you consider the weather we’ve had here.
"So it’s worked out very well for us and hopefully we get the benefit from that. It was always the plan at some stage to do that this January. It couldn’t have worked out better for us.
"Ashley Young is not far away. He trained a bit in Qatar. Not a lot, but at least he is on the road back and he has always been an important player for us.
"Jonny is just taking a bit longer than we thought. But he did a bit of training in Qatar. Again, not a lot, but he is on the way back. The bonus for us, of course, is that Phil Jones and Chris Smalling are both back. So we’re not so bad in that department."
When asked if Young and Evans could return to face Real Madrid, the boss: "Both of them will be fit for that. I would hope to have a fully fit squad by the time those games come around."
As for the FA Cup, Sir Alex once again outlined his desire to win the competition and welcomed a home draw against the Cottagers, though the United manager admits he’d happily face anyone.
“We haven't done as well in the FA Cup for a few years now. It's a cup which has fantastic appeal given our record in it. We have benefit of the home draw. We'll take that any time. It's going to be a challenge for us but we would play anyone at the moment.”