Ferdinand comeback pleases United
Manchester United are confident Rio Ferdinand will benefit from his quicker-than-expected return to first-team duties. While the England international was always confident he would get over a calf problem in time to face Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, Sir Alex Ferguson was less sure his £29.1m defender would make his first appearance of the season at White Hart Lane.
As it turned out, Ferdinand was correct and he came through the entire 90 minutes as United recorded a notable early-season victory. The 30-year-old has also travelled to Istanbul, where the Red Devils begin their quest to reach a third successive UEFA Champions League final against Besiktas tomorrow night.
"Rio worked hard during the last couple of weeks," said United assistant manager Mike Phelan. "He got the treatment he needed and was able to get out on to the training ground. We were pushing him a bit to play but he will be better for it."
With Wes Brown also back, Sir Alex Ferguson may now consider allowing Jonny Evans to have an operation to solve a niggling ankle problem that has plagued him for the past 12 months. The Northern Ireland international confirmed his position as the automatic stand-in for both Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic last season, and performed admirably with both senior figures consigned to spells on the sidelines.
But the Belfast-born player has no intention of declaring himself part of the Old Trafford fabric just yet. "You don't sit down after one game and think, 'Oh, I'm a Manchester United player now'," he told Inside United.
"There are plenty of players who played even 100 games for this club and aren't remembered. You want to make your mark on the history of the club. It is only then you can walk away and say, 'I made it at United'."
Identifying the problems
For Ferguson, tomorrow night's game against a Besiktas side overwhelmed by Galatasaray at the weekend begins the rebuilding process after a summer of soul-searching. Taken on its own, losing to Barcelona in Rome is not a cause for major recrimination.
Yet the comprehensive manner of defeat did cause Ferguson to stop and think. "That night was disappointing," he said. "You can look at reasons and excuses and it's always better to look at the reasons.
"If they are good reasons you can put that to the back of your mind and go away and live your life. If there were no reasons at all then we would be worried, but I think there were valid reasons so we will move on. I took the DVD on holiday and went through everything.
"It made me feel more honest about the whole build-up and everything. Did we have the right hotel? Things like this. The training, everything. We looked at all of it so I am quite clear about where we are and where we go. The problems can be put right and they certainly will be put right."