Manchester United winger Antonio Valencia could miss the rest of the season after suffering a suspected fractured ankle during the 0-0 UEFA Champions League draw with Rangers.
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said he feared the Ecuador international could be a long-term absentee and compared the horrific injury to the one suffered by former striker Alan Smith against Liverpool in 2006. "As soon as I saw the Rangers player waving to the bench we knew it was a bad one," said Ferguson.
Play was stopped for five minutes after Valencia tussled with Rangers defender Kirk Broadfoot. Ferguson told Sky Sports: "He has gone to hospital. It looks as if it is a dislocation and a fracture. It's a bad one, it will keep him out for a long time. He seemed to dig his toe in the turf."
Ferguson stunned Old Trafford by making ten changes to the team which drew 3-3 at Everton in the Premier League on Saturday including recalling Wayne Rooney who was rested from that match following allegations over his private life. Rio Ferdinand also returned while Darren Fletcher was the only player to survive the cull of the team which played against Everton.
Despite the changes, Ferguson was adamant he had made the right decision. "The criticism will be why didn't I play a stronger team," said the United manager. I think I played a very strong team. People forget eight of them played against Chelsea in the Community Shield. This is a terrific squad. We have no problem playing them.
"We should have won that game, but give credit to Rangers, their system is very difficult to break down. We played with intensity and commitment. But Rangers just went back to the penalty box and it was successful."
Rangers defender David Weir said his team's conservative tactical approach paid dividends. "It's a great start, we're delighted with a point," said the veteran international.
"We were very defensive but thankfully came out with a result. Our possession was a little bit disappointing in the first half but it was a bit better in the second and we got ourselves up the pitch a little bit."