Manchester United are facing a potential defensive injury crisis for Tuesday’s Champions League tie against Bayern Munich.
- Payne: Pressure eases
Right-back Rafael da Silva went off at half-time in Saturday’s 4-1 victory over Aston Villa and manager David Moyes is waiting to see if the Brazilian will be fit enough to feature.
Central defenders Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans have been sidelined with hamstring and calf problems respectively and Moyes is not yet sure if either will be able to return.
United will definitely be without first-choice left-back Patrice Evra, who is suspended for the match against Pep Guardiola’s team. And they ended the game against Villa with midfielder Michael Carrick in defence after Rafael went off and, with two of Moyes’ alternatives at right-back were both unavailable, Phil Jones switching to the flank to fill in for the Brazilian.
He explained: “It is an injury [to Rafael], we will need to check it out. Antonio Valencia has a bit of tendonitis in his knee, that is why he wasn’t involved, who would have been the one we would have put to full-back.
“But we knew if we lost a full-back we could be struggling a bit and the young boy, [Guillermo] Varela, could have got on the bench but he was injured as well, so we ended up had to juggle it around a bit.”
Smalling and Evans will be assessed over the weekend with Moyes adding: “We have a lot of defenders missing and I will know better tomorrow [Sunday].”
If all are ruled out, Moyes could end up with only four available defenders: the veterans Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, plus Jones and second-choice left-back Alexander Buttner.
United will definitely be without the injured Robin van Persie and the ineligible Juan Mata against Bundesliga winners Bayern.
But although United may be depleted, Moyes issued a rallying cry, telling BT Sport: “We have a tough game against probably the best team in Europe. But you know, bring the challenge on.” we'll get a good result.''