David Moyes is hopeful that both Robin van Persie and Nemanja Vidic will return to fitness in time for Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Bayer Leverkusen. The pair’s absence was felt as United’s recent run of good results was halted by a 2-2 draw with Cardiff City on Sunday.
Van Persie has been nursing both groin and toe injuries in recent weeks, causing him to be used intermittently for United while missing out on the Netherlands’ recent friendly internationals. Vidic, meanwhile, has yet to shake off the effects of a concussion that forced him off at half time during the victory over Arsenal over two weeks ago.
"Robin’s groin is the problem at the moment; his toes are much better,” Moyes said, following the match in the Welsh capital. “We are hoping to get both Nemanja and Robin back as soon as we can. I hope they'll be in contention for Wednesday but I couldn’t give you a definitive answer."
There was some initial mystery about the exclusion from the weekend party of Shinji Kagawa. Moyes explained that the attacking midfielder has also picked up an injury, though one that is not overly serious.
"Kagawa got injured playing for Japan," he clarified. "It’s an injury to his foot; there’s some bruising there, but it’s not too bad.”
The versatile Phil Jones was another member of the United squad to pick up a problem on international duty. Yet, after being forced off in England’s defeat to Chile, Jones may also be back for the trip to Germany.
"Possibly,” Moyes said. “I don't think he is as bad as we first thought. He's not too far away. It's a groin injury, right up his hip."
Moyes is in need of a boost after United conceded an injury-time equalizer from a set-piece for the second time this season to fall seven points behind Premier League leaders Arsenal. The United boss refused to blame the absentees, however.
"We had four or five key players missing, which didn't help," he said "but that's never an excuse here because we've got enough players and even with the team we put out today we had enough players to win it. We had enough quality to win it, but unfortunately in the last minute we threw it away."
United badly need a positive result in Leverkusen on Wednesday. A scoreless result at Real Sociedad last time out leaves the Premier League champions atop of Group A, but with just a point advantage over their next opponents and a three point edge over Shakhtar Donetsk, who are favorites to get a win at home to Sociedad. Anything less than a win will result in United being forced to go down to a final day meeting with Shakhtar at Old Trafford in order to confirm their place in the last 16.