Ferguson reveals selection 'nightmare'
Sir Alex Ferguson has dismissed any burn-out fears at Manchester United after revealing his selection policy is turning into a "nightmare" ahead of the critical stage of the season.
While managers have voiced fears over seeing their players jaded, the Manchester United manager suggests he's more concerned about juggling his side to keep everyone happy. Manchester United face another pivotal week in their season, starting with Saturday's league game at Wigan.
Key league games follow next week against Chelsea and Liverpool in what could go some way to deciding where the Premier League trophy ends up this season. However, Ferguson says, whatever the outcome, fatigue won't become a factor at Old Trafford.
"My experience is that players want to play in all the games now. That is the problem," he said. "I'm helped a little bit as I have two or three injuries at the moment. My options are condensed a bit and I think the players who are playing all the time are delighted by that and want that.
"I have found over the years it's a nightmare picking teams as you leave players out who want to play in the big games. As this stage of the season there are big games, there's no doubt that."
The rest of the Premier League are playing catch-up as Ferguson's side look to strengthen their grip on the title, and Ferguson believes consistency now holds the key to winning silverware at the end of the season. "Only one team can win the league," he said. "It won't be easy for them to come back from however many points deficit they have got.
"The team who is the most consistent will win the league and that's why I stress we have to keep our momentum going and get that consistency. It doesn't matter who or when you play them. The important thing is keep the momentum going."
The likes of England defender Rio Ferdinand head a long injury list for Manchester United. With Jonny Evans also sidelined, it has presented young centre-back Chris Smalling with a chance that he has seized with both hands, having been partnered with captain Nemanja Vidic.
Yet despite catching the eye, Ferguson claims he is only keeping Ferdinand's starting spot warm before his expected return for the run-in. "Smalling has done fantastic. He is only 20 (sic, 21) but Rio's experienced and I think Chris will understand that," he said. "In games like going to Liverpool, if Rio is fit and ready for that I will definitely play him."
Along with Ferdinand's return, Manchester United are set to receive a further boost with Michael Owen, Park Ji-Sung and Antonio Valencia all closing in on a comeback.