Football News

Ferguson to play Rooney, Vidic still out

Dec 04, 2012 4:27 PM EST

Manchester United's Alex Ferguson feels Wayne Rooney is still lacking full match fitness, while Nemanja Vidic will not return against Cluj.

Despite Rooney putting in his one of most impressive display of the season so far against Reading on Saturday, Ferguson believes that the 27-year-old needs more games to reach his peak and plans to field him against Cluj in the Champions League on Wednesday.

"Wayne needs to play a lot of games to get his match fitness up. He's a strong-built lad and when he misses two games it takes him three games to come back," Ferguson told reporters on Tuesday.

"It's the way he's always been. He'll play tomorrow night and hopefully that brings him on further. On Saturday, that was his best performance of the season so far."

Ferguson challenged Rooney to improve his goal-scoring record on Friday and the forward responded with a key role in United's thrilling 4-3 victory against Reading, with two goals and an assist for Robin van Persie's winner.

With the Manchester derby to come on Sunday, Ferguson has confirmed his intention to give chances to some fresh players in Wednesday's Champions League tie, while ruling Nemanja Vidic out of both that game and the Manchester City clash.

"I don't think Nemanja will play," he said.

"He feels he needs another few days' training so he won't be available.

"He's not far away. He's training well now but I think another few days will bring him on better. If he doesn't play tomorrow there's no chance he'll play in the derby game."

"(Shinji) Kagawa started running today. He may make the bench (against City). Obviously Nani and (Antonio) Valencia are still out."

Ferguson also expressed his concern over United's poor defensive record this season ahead of the key City clash.

"I think we're getting punished when the ball's going into our box at the moment but we should be defending far better, albeit Reading produced some fantastic balls into the box," he said.

"We should be expecting better. It's a worry.

"If we perform like that on Sunday then God knows what's going to happen to us. When you see the goals against - we've lost 32 already - I can't remember us losing so many goals before Christmas.

"It's a concern, there's no question about that. When you see City have (Mario) Balotelli, (Edin) Dzeko - all really tall players - it's going to be a big challenge."