Fergie rues Hargreaves 'disaster'

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has labelled Owen Hargreaves' injury in Saturday's 2-1 victory over Wolves "a disaster".

Ferguson took a chance on the fitness of Hargreaves, which backfired badly as he lasted just five minutes on his first start since September 2008 after suffering a hamstring injury.

"We took a gamble with Owen Hargreaves," admitted Ferguson.

"We thought by doing that it would give us a compact midfield with experience. But he only lasted five minutes. It was a disaster.

"He has hurt his hamstring, which is unbelievable. It put us under the cosh.

"Patrice Evra, Paul Scholes and Nemanja Vidic were all feeling under the weather, then we had to bring Bebe on.

"He has potential but he is learning.

"What we needed was the patience to open them up because we were playing without a lot of players who can make a difference at that stage of the game.

"It is unfortunate we didn't get one earlier. Nevertheless, we will take it."

Ferguson has hinted there may be a mental explanation for the latest setback in Hargreaves' injury-ravaged career.

"It is possibly (fear played a part) because of a lack of match fitness," Ferguson told Key103.

"Maybe a bit of anxiety at playing his first game had a bit to do with it too."

In an ideal world, Ferguson would probably not have pushed Hargreaves into service from the off yesterday, knowing the player's first start since he had surgery on both knees to cure a long-standing tendinitis complaint was going to be significant.

However, a devastating combination of illness and injury within United ranks left Ferguson with little option other than to turn to his 18million recruit from Bayern Munich.

"We had to take a check on the morning of the game," said Ferguson.

"We pulled Ryan (Giggs) into the squad but unfortunately he was just feeling his hamstring a little bit, so he was too big a risk.

"Paul Scholes was not fit enough to start because he wasn't feeling 100% so we looked at the situation with Owen.

"He has been training very well and the doctor thought he was fine to play.

"Unfortunately he only lasted a couple of minutes."

No estimate was offered about how long Hargreaves is likely to be out but the consequences could be significant.

Now in the final year of his contract, it is hard to see Ferguson offering another without some guarantee the World Cup star will be available even though he made an impressive contribution to a campaign that ended with Premier League and European Cup glory in his first season at Old Trafford.

England coach Fabio Capello, who was at Old Trafford on Saturday, might have equal reason to lament Hargreaves' premature exit, although John O'Shea is confident his team-mate can overcome this latest shattering blow.

"I feel so sorry for Owen," he said.

"He was looking forward to it so much and we were all excited for him.

"He has worked very hard to get to this point. There will be one or two niggles, that is bound to happen.

"But he will be back, there is no doubt about that."

Source: Team Talk
Date Published: 8 November 2010