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Dec 9, 2013

United trio ruled out of Shakhtar clash

Manchester United have suffered a triple defensive injury blow and are set to be without Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra and Chris Smalling when they face Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Payne: United's confidence-sapping tumble
Miller: Who stays and who goes at United?

Smalling, 24, missed Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Newcastle with a hamstring problem while captain Vidic, 32, and vice-captain Evra, 32, who both started against the Magpies, sat out training on Monday morning.

Michael Carrick, a long-term absentee with an Achilles problem, was also absent, while Marouane Fellaini is currently sidelined with a back injury.

Shinji Kagawa, however, is available once again, with the Japan international missing the Newcastle defeat after being forced to have his stomach pumped due to overeating.

“Shinji has trained and we think he will be OK for tomorrow [Tuesday],” Red Devils manager David Moyes said.

Alexander Buttner and Rio Ferdinand could be set to return to the defence against Ukrainian champions Shakhtar.

United have already secured their place in the knockout stages of the Champions League and Moyes has admitted he is tempted to rest players on Tuesday as he prepares for Sunday’s Premier League trip to Aston Villa.

“There is a little bit of that in our thinking but also there are one or two injuries which we will have to take into consideration,” Moyes said.

United require a point to ensure they top Group A, which would mean they avoid the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich in the last 16.

And Moyes added: “It is important to give ourselves the best possible chance in the next round. But the big job was to make sure we qualified, which we have done, and I hope we can finish the group unbeaten.”

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