Brazilian midfielder Anderson is facing an anxious wait for the result of X-rays on a suspected broken left ankle after being carried off during Manchester United’s League Cup 4-2 semi-final victory over Derby County.
Goals from Nani, John O’Shea, Carlos Tevez and Cristiano Ronaldo, with two late strikes from Giles Barnes in reply for Derby, secured a 4-3 aggregate victory for United at Old Trafford on Tuesday as they booked their seventh League Cup final appearance, at Wembley on March 1.
But the win was marred by several injuries, the most serious concerning Anderson, Rafael (hamstring) and Jonny Evans (ankle).
And with the likes of Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra already sidelined, the cost of this victory was a high one for the English, European and world champions.
“We were playing with nine men at the end, we were just limping around, but we got through,” said United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
“Anderson will have to go for an X-ray. There is some damage, so we’ll see what happens. It’s been a bad night for us that way, but we’re in the final, so we should celebrate that, even though we had six or seven injured,” he said.
“The serious one is Anderson. Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville and Nani all picked up injuries. Jonny Evans has got a recurrence of the ankle injury that has bothered him for a few weeks now, but hopefully he’ll be OK in a week’s time, and Rafael has a hamstring injury and will be out for a few weeks,” the Scot said.
Ferguson, trying to remain upbeat, said the largely youthful side that got United to Wembley would be given a chance of glory.
“Finals are always hard to get to, though, and the young lads have done fantastic to get there, so they will play at Wembley, there is no question about that. They deserve it,” he said.
“Wembley is a special place and our record is terrific in finals. It’s a great occasion going there, but you always want to win it,” Ferguson said.
Derby’s late rally gave United a scare and another goal from Nigel Clough’s men would have levelled the aggregate scores.
Clough, who took charge at Pride Park earlier this month, said his second-tier Championship strugglers had run United agonizingly close.
“If we had scored a bit earlier, then we might have been able to give our supporters something to shout about. And if we had scored a second goal at Derby, then it could’ve been a different story,” Clough said.
WORLD OF GOOD
“It was nice to see Giles Barnes get a couple of goals, though, because he has been out for a long time, so those will do him the world of good,” he said.
“United are the best side in the world, though, and they can beat anyone by five or six on their day, so we have to take the positives from the game,” Clough said.
Holders Tottenham Hotspur carried a 4-1 lead into the second leg of their semi-final against Championship side Burnley yesterday.
Meanwhile, Tottenham reached a deal with Wigan Athletic yesterday to sign Honduras midfielder Wilson Palacios.
The move, worth a reported £14 million (US$19 million), is subject to Palacios receiving a work permit.