• Champions League

Vidic absence gives United defensive crisis

ESPN staff
December 9, 2013
Nemanja Vidic sat out training on Monday © Getty Images

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

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

So did Michael Carrick, a long-term absentee with an Achilles problem, and Marouane Fellaini, who has a back injury.

But Shinji Kagawa is available again. The Japan international had his stomach pumped after overeating.

Manager David Moyes said: "Shinji has trained and we think he will be OK for tomorrow [Tuesday]."

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

He said: "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."

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

United require a point to ensure they top the group, which would mean they avoid 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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