Manchester United are facing mounting defensive concerns ahead of their last 16 UEFA Champions League match against Inter Milan. United were already without Serbian defender Nemanja Vidic due to suspension for Tuesday's first leg at the San Siro and they lost Jonny Evans to an ankle injury in the 2-1 Premier League win over Blackburn Rovers at Old Trafford yesterday. And with Gary Neville and Wes Brown struggling with injury, manager Sir Alex Ferguson is now hoping John O'Shea can overcome an ankle problem in order to partner Rio Ferdinand at centre-back against Jose Mourinho's team.
"We've got some injury issues, of course, and I just hope we can get two centre-backs out there on Tuesday," Ferguson said. "At this moment in time, it's very doubtful. Jonny Evans is unlikely to be playing. He's looking very doubtful and I'm just hoping to have John O'Shea available, because we don't have Gary Neville and we don't have Wes Brown.
"We're having a nightmare with defenders this season. Hopefully we can patch it up with Tuesday because this does leave us very, very short," he added. Despite United picking up a tenth straight Premier League victory and moving well clear at the top, Ferguson believes they way they were made to work by Blackburn shows they cannot grow over-confident about their chances of securing an 18th league title.
"Sometimes when you don't play your very best and get a result, that goes a long way towards winning the title," he said. Ferguson, whose side were recently labelled "untouchable" by Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, added: "I've said all along that we can't forecast that we're going to win the league. A team like Blackburn will come to Old Trafford and fight for their lives.
"That's what you can expect from every team in the bottom 11. It's a difficult league so when people are talking about us going to win the league, we're going to dismiss it. We've got to focus every game and fight for our lives, just like the teams at the bottom of the league are fighting for their lives."
Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce acknowledged Rovers needed wins to back up their improved performances. Rovers are still two points from safety and Allardyce said: "I'm anxious about where we are and anxious about the fact that we're in the mire. The only thing that will get you out of the mire is wins now, points on the board.
"Performances help you get points on the board, but we've had consistent performances and we haven't got a consistent level of points to go with that. That's a big worry at the minute. Converting good performances into wins is now imperative.
"We've got to try to make sure we got to Hull City now and do what we haven't done since I've been here, which is win away from home. Clubs above us are now pulling away and there are fewer and fewer clubs involved now so we've got to make sure we're not stuck the bottom."