Rooney and Rio will be fighting fit, insists Ferguson

RIO FERDINAND and Wayne Rooney will be ready to face Bayern Munich tomorrow night, despite missing United’s victory over Bolton Wanderers.

The first-choice pair were omitted from the 18 selected by Alex Ferguson at the Reebok Stadium but the boss says their absence was just a precaution ahead of a “big week” for the Reds.

“They were just a bit tender,” Ferguson said in reference to the players’ minor injury problems.

“Wayne’s got a bruise on his foot. If he’d played and got a whack on it, then he would have been doubtful for Tuesday.

“We’ve got a big week. We have to use our squad in situations like this. I’ve no qualms about that at all. They’ve all done their job well, and I’ll have Rooney and Ferdinand available for Tuesday.”

The United squad flies out from Manchester this morning and will remain in Germany until Wednesday afternoon. The extra overnight stay will enable the players to rest properly ahead of the Easter Saturday showdown with Chelsea at Old Trafford.

At the Reebok, Edwin van der Sar made important stops from Johan Elmander and Fabrice Muamba with the game at 1-0, two saves that the manager described as match-winning.

“They were absolutely magnificent saves, the second one in particular from Muamba. He did well to reach that. Edwin’s making saves like that because he’s got the concentration and composure to make sure he doesn’t panic when they get opportunities like Elmander’s. That’s the kind of experience he brings to a situation when we have to win.”

Van der Sar made a point of bringing fitness coach Tony Strudwick in front of the MUTV cameras during his post-match interview, in which he credited the Reds’ current form to the work behind the scenes at Carrington.

“Tony and his team work hard to prepare the players in the best way possible,” the Dutch 39-year-old said.

“A lot of the progress we are making on the pitch is down to him. With his help and the tactics of Rene [Meulensteen], Mick [Phelan] and the boss, it’s great to be here.”

Strudwick responded by saluting van der Sar for his professionalism.

“Edwin’s got a programme in place which he manages himself. He seems to be getting younger as he goes on,” said Tony. “He made some terrific saves and he’s very professional and sets the standards for everybody.”

The fitness coach gave an insight into the challenges of a busy run-in, with United now getting ready for a trip to Bayern Munich, swiftly followed by Chelsea at home.

“It can be difficult when you don’t have much time to prepare between games but the players have a process in place,” said Strudwick. “They recover well and they are very professional. There are no days off at this stage so it’s important to keep going.”

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