Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed he expects to be without forward Wayne Rooney for around two weeks due to his hamstring problem.
The in-form England striker was a surprise omission from the matchday squad for the away trip to Stoke City, which ended in a 1-1 draw after Peter Crouch’s header levelled matters after Nani had put the Red Devils ahead in the first half.
Speaking to the BBC after the game, Sir Alex said: “I think Wayne will probably be out for a couple of weeks, although we don’t yet know the full story.
“It isn’t a serious hamstring problem but it was enough to keep him out of the match today. Michael Carrick was also injured in training yesterday so it was a nightmare session for us with Jonny Evans picking up a problem as well.
“The loss of Evans in the warm-up was sort of expected by us because he was also injured in training. He was prepared to have a go but in the warm-up he just couldn’t do it so then we had to shuffle the pack a bit.”
Reflecting on the match, Sir Alex was reasonably pleased to pick up a point at the Britannia Stadium, even though it meant the end of his side’s impressive 100% Premier League record they had taken into the game.
He added: “We were faced with the challenges we expected really, we've been here many times and it's always been the same.
“It is always a difficult place to come as they put you under great pressure in terms of set piece deliveries, throw-ins and corner kicks. We have always handled it well here but on the Crouch goal it was the one occasion where we didn’t.
“We had to make a lot of changes today and then had to have Chicharito taken off after just a few minutes which definitely unbalances us because his pace keeps defenders back and forces them to move towards their own box more which in turn gives us more room to play.
“But Michael Owen came on and did very well; he’s a very experienced and intelligent player.
“You do miss Evans’ height and ability in the air – we were always going to be under pressure today given the size of our team – it was unbalanced compared to the numbers Stoke can put in the box, but we battled through it and played some good football at times; the players did the best they could.
“We are quite content. I think Stoke deserved their point, they battled hard as they always do and Tony Pulis has got a really honest team here who always make you work and although we have been pretty successful here in the past few years, today I think the result was fair.”
One area of controversy was United’s appeals for a penalty in the incident which saw Javier Hernandez injured early in the game after clashing with Potters defender Jonathan Woodgate and goalkeeper Asmir Begovic.
Sir Alex feels a spot-kick should have been awarded, although the Scot admitted the timing of the incident so near the start of the match did not help his side’s chances of getting the decision.
“I think a lot of referees would have given a penalty for it,” he said.
“I feel that the defender has shoved Chicharito into the goalkeeper but it may have just been too early in the game for the referee to give it.”