Ferguson stands by keeper policy

Alex Ferguson is happy to let Anders Lindegaard and David de Gea alternate as his goalkeeper to allow both to further their Manchester United experience.

Alex Ferguson is happy to let Anders Lindegaard and David de Gea alternate as his goalkeeper to allow both to further their Manchester United experience.

De Gea started the campaign. But after a couple of shaky displays, he was replaced by Lindegaard.

Yet the Spaniard could easily be called upon again this evening as United open their latest Champions League quest against Galatasaray.

There is a clear argument against such tinkering, especially in a team looking for some defensive solidity.

But Ferguson insists it is not an issue.

“The most important thing I’m trying to achieve is experience of the English game,” said Ferguson.

“They are both young and don’t have the experience of an Edwin van der Sar or Peter Schmeichel so alternating is not a problem for me.

“That’s the policy I have been adopting and I’m comfortable with it.”

Ferguson does know his side must improve at the back though.

Rarely have United been able to field a regular defence during a three-season period of group stage matches on home soil that has yielded a paltry total of three wins.

Already this term, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones have been ruled out for extended periods, forcing Michael Carrick into service as an emergency central defender.

Even allowing for Rio Ferdinand missing the odd game, such measures should not be required again now that Jonny Evans has recovered from an ankle injury.

But Ferguson realises the position is precarious – and of huge significance.

“At the moment with Smalling and Jones long term, I’m left with three centre-backs, Vidic, Ferdinand and Evans,” said the United boss.

“If I was guaranteed two of those being fit for the rest of the season I’d take that gladly right now.

“It’s not been the case in the last two or three years, when we have had a really rough ride.

“I’ve had to alternate centre-backs. Go back two years ago and we had Carrick, (Darren) Fletcher and (Patrice) Evra there.

“That’s a key issue. I can’t hide that. I just hope I get a bit of luck in that respect.”

At the other end of the field, Ferguson is set to recall summer signings Robin van Persie and Shinji Kagawa.

Galatasaray will have a few familiar faces helping them too.

Johan Elmander, Emmanuel Eboue, Milan Baros and Albert Riera are all well known to Premier League supporters from their time playing in England.

Galatasaray coach Fatih Terim said: “Manchester United have been so successful in the Champions League for many years.

“I was there when they beat Bayern Munich in the (1999) final and they have won many more important games apart from that.

“What happened last season was a surprise but maybe it will just make them even more motivated.”

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