'Antonio Valencia injury big blow but Manchester United can cope' - Rio Ferdinand

The defender praised midfielder Tom Cleverley after his return from injury in 2-0 win over Ajax on Thursday night but admitted the team’s performance in Amsterdam was not vintage

Rio Ferdinand is rueing the loss of Antonio Valencia to injury but believes Manchester United can cope without him.

The Ecuadorian winger is set to be out of action for a month after suffering a hamstring injury in the Red Devils’ 2-0 win at Ajax in their Europa League first-leg on Thursday night.

But despite being disheartened at the former Wigan Athletic man’s absence, Ferdinand believes there are other top players at Old Trafford who can step into the 26-year-old’s boots.

“It's a really big blow,” the 33-year-old told United’s official website. “Antonio's been a fantastic player for us this season.

“But when somebody gets injured or loses form at this club the manager can always call upon another player to perform.”

Goals from Ashley Young and Javier Hernandez secured the win for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side in Amsterdam although the performance from last year’s Champions League finalists was not a vintage one.

“It was a good result,” Ferdinand accepted. “I think before the game we would have taken 2-0 had you offered it. To come away with a victory and a clean sheet was pleasing.

“It wasn't one of our best performances, but sometimes you get that. In this type of tournament, in the knockout stages, the result is the most important thing.”

The Europa League last-32 match saw the return of injured duo Phil Jones and Nani, while Ferdinand highlighted the positive display from England Under-21 midfielder Tom Cleverley.

He added: “It's important to recognise we had a few players who have been out recently and were able to get a few minutes under their belts. That was good.

“In Tom's case, he's an all-round player and the sort of guy who's going to be beneficial to the team. He's got a lot of energy and he's a good passer of the ball. It's good to see him back.”