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Fergie may not risk Ronaldo against Villarreal

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is focused only on the challenge of Villarreal in the Champions League and is not yet considering a crunch Manchester derby on Sunday. Though Cristiano Ronaldo may not be risked after the knock he sustained against Aston Villa at the weekend.

Ferguson has indicated he will field a strong side in the Group E encounter at El Madrigal in a bid to clinch top spot. He said: "The derby doesn't come into it at this moment simply because I have got five days and I need to play a team to win. I want to win the group and winning does that.

"It was different from the last time when we played Celtic in Glasgow because we had a lunchtime game against Arsenal so my thinking was completely different. Wednesday to Saturday lunchtime is different from Tuesday to Sunday lunchtime."

Ronaldo has pleaded to play against Villarreal - but Ferguson has his doubts about that.

The Portugal winger trained on Monday after coming off in the second half of the 0-0 draw on Saturday with a leg injury.

Ferguson said: "Cristiano got a lot of whacks on Saturday. He got a few cuts but nothing serious.

"He wants to play and that is a problem. I would rather leave him out. When players show that enthusiasm to play you don't deter them you encourage it."

Ferguson expects a rough ride, particularly from United old boy Giuseppe Rossi and said: "We think very highly of him. He was a fantastic young player for us.

"The problem was satisfying him with regards to first team football. It was very difficult for me.

"When Villarreal made a good offer for him one of the conditions was that we had an option to buy him if they ever sold him.

"That is the situation. He is a Villarreal player and I am sure they want him to stay with them. He is doing very well."

Ferguson confirmed goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak will replace Edwin Van der Sar between the posts as the Dutch veteran is being rested.

"We are giving another goalkeeper an opportunity and experience," said the United boss. "There is no better experience than a European tie away from home.

"It is a matter of judging the right time to introduce other players like the goalkeepers for instance. That is a prime example. The rest is down to injuries when circumstances dictate."

Darren Fletcher also comes into contention after missing the Villa match because of a knee problem.

United will be without Dimitar Berbatov (hamstring), Wes Brown (ankle) and Gary Neville (groin) as well as long-term injury victims Paul Scholes and Owen Hargreaves.


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