Injuries making life tough – Fergie

United still have the chance to emulate their historic achievements

of 12 seasons ago, even though they must overcome Chelsea in the

Champions League, Manchester City in the FA Cup and retain their

current status at the top of the Premier League. But it is not

Ferguson’s opponents that bother him so much as the mounting

injuries he is having to contend with. “It is going to be more

difficult than it was in 1999,” said the Red Devils boss. “We

didn’t have the injuries we do now. “There is a great desire to do

it but we have so many injuries to defenders at present. “We will

never give in though. No matter what happens, you always feel

Manchester United will score in the last minute. “We must have a

chance but it is more difficult than it has ever been.” Ferguson

was speaking at a press conference to announce United’s clash with

the MLS All-Stars team at the Red Bull Arena on July 27, part of a

five-match US tour that will conclude in Washington three days

later with the Red Devils to face Barcelona. By that time, the two

clubs could have met in the Champions League final at Wembley.

Barca are the undoubted favourites for the competition and will

meet Ukraine’s Shakhtar Donetsk in the first leg of their

quarter-final next week. However, a meeting with Pep Guardiola’s

men is something Ferguson would relish, even though old friend

Harry Redknapp has labelled them the best club side ever.

“Hopefully they have reached their peak already,” said Ferguson.

“They are an example to everyone of how to play football. “Xavi and

Andres Iniesta show so much courage to always want to take the ball

and they have the little magician Lionel Messi up front, who is

wonderful to watch. “People say they don’t want to play against

them. I think it is a privilege. “It is the kind of challenge you

want.” Ferguson confirmed Antonio Valencia will miss the US tour

due to his commitments at the Copa America with Ecuador. Javier

Hernandez will also sit out the first part as he is required to

play in the Gold Cup for Mexico. It was on last year’s US tour that

Hernandez first signalled he was going to be an impressive new

recruit for the Old Trafford outfit. The forward has gone on a

recent scoring burst that has taken his tally to 16, putting him in

line to match a lofty pre-season target set by Paul Scholes. “When

he scored his first goal on that tour, Paul turned to me and said

’25 goals’,” revealed Ferguson. “Paul doesn’t say much but he a

great professional and a fantastic judge. “Javier has 16 goals now,

so with eight games left and, hopefully, a few European and FA Cup

ties, he could get 25 and Paul would have been right.”