• Champions League

Jones has 'outside chance' of facing Madrid

ESPN staff
February 21, 2013
Phil Jones limped out against Reading © PA Photos

Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted there is only an "outside chance" of Phil Jones being fit for the second leg of Manchester United's Champions League clash with Real Madrid.

Jones produced a superb defensive performance in the 1-1 draw in the first leg, with his efforts doing a lot to keep Cristiano Ronaldo under wraps, but he emerged as a doubt when picking up an ankle knock against Reading in the FA Cup.

The former Blackburn man left Old Trafford on Monday in a protective boot and he has been receiving intensive treatment by the club's medical staff.

Jones has been ruled out of the Premier League clash with QPR and faces a race to be fit for the second leg against Real no March 5.

"Phil Jones is the one we're concerned about for the Real Madrid game," Ferguson said ahead of the clash with QPR. "We're working hard on it and I'd say he has an outside chance - no more than that.

"We'll have to wait and see if he's fit for the second leg. It's two weeks away. A lot can happen. He's an outside chance, that's all. Other than that, everybody's fit."

United go to QPR on Saturday in a match of the Premier League's top and bottom teams with Ferguson admitting it is difficult to select his side.

The Scot made eight changes for the win at Reading and apart from Jones, Paul Scholes and Darren Fletcher, who is out for the season, reported a clean bill of health, meaning he has plenty of players pressing a case to start.

He added: "We have a problem picking teams at the moment but that's where we want to be."

While QPR have only won two league games all season and United could go 15 points clear of Manchester City, who face Chelsea on Sunday, Ferguson is anticipating a tough game.

And the United manager believes it is inevitable his side will drop points over the next three months.

He said: "QPR are fighting for survival and we know it's going to be a hard game. That's what we need - we need to make sure we do our job right. The fact is, City will drop points too. That's where we are, coming into the run-in. We expect to drop a few points but so will they. It's always a hard run-in in the Premier League. With the right attitude and the right players we have a chance."

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