• Premier League

'No chance' Vidic plays in the derby, says Fergie

ESPN staff
December 4, 2012
Nemanja Vidic will not be risked this week despite returning to full training on Tuesday, if Sir Alex Ferguson is to be believed © PA Photos

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson will not risk Nemanja Vidic against CFR Cluj in the Champions League on Wednesday, and has claimed there is "absolutely no chance" of the Serbian playing in Sunday's Premier League derby against Manchester City.

Vidic handed Ferguson a boost on Tuesday, as he returned to full training with United for the first time since undergoing a knee operation in September.

But the Scot is anxious to avoid rushing the Serbian back into action too quickly and risking a setback in his rehabilitation, so will not play the 31-year-old against Cluj - in what is a dead rubber, with Champions League qualification already assured.

The weekend's top-of-the-table clash against arch-rivals Manchester City would appear to be a game that Ferguson would like to have his captain back for, but he insisted he will not risk Vidic in a contest of that magnitude after being out for so long.

"I don't think Nemanja will play," Ferguson said of the Cluj contest. "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 [on Wednesday] there's absolutely no chance he'll play in the derby game. Playing on Wednesday would have been a bonus for us and we could have taken it on from there."

Ruling Vidic out of the City showdown could be a ploy from Ferguson, who has form in the department. At the start of 2012 the Scot denied that Paul Scholes was coming out of retirement to return to the club - before the midfielder appeared on the bench for the FA Cup third round victory against City the next day.

The comments are also suggest a change of tune from last week, where Ferguson seemed open to the idea of throwing Vidic back into action at Old Trafford this weekend.

"I wouldn't be adverse to playing him [against City]," he told the club's official website at the weekend. "Good defenders win you the league."

Defence has been a problem for United in recent weeks, with Ferguson branding the first half of Saturday's 4-3 Premier League victory against Reading "the absolute worst we have been all season".

And he admitted that the current league leaders would be in trouble if they produced a similar display against the side three points behind them.

"If we perform like that on Sunday, God knows what will happen to us," he noted.

"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. But that's on Sunday. [Wednesday] we've got a different game."

United playmaker Shinji Kagawa is another key player who has been absent through injury, but Ferguson was optimistic the Japan international has a chance of making the bench for Sunday's clash.

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