and groin and things like that. So far it’s worked very well. We have to look at all these things before Rio decides."
International breaks are an occupational hazard for top managers at the best of times, but with the run-in now in full swing Sir Alex is keen to get through the forthcoming fortnight hiatus in the club's schedule unscathed.
"It’s the same for everyone," he adds. "The top clubs will have most of their squads away for internationals for two games. We’ve got three players travelling outside of Europe. Kagawa won’t be too bad – he plays in Jordan and Doha, whereas Chicharito has two games in South America, the last one being in Mexico. Valencia’s last game is in Quito in Ecuador.
"It's hard for those players to get back and get the proper preparation for a lunchtime game against Sunderland [on 30 March]. Other than that we can get most of the players back quickly. The English players will be back the night after their second game [on Tuesday]. Nani is out of the Portugal game. France are at home, Netherlands are at home and Northern Ireland are at home so we don’t have any great issues with [Patrice Evra, Robin van Persie and Jonny Evans]."