Not content with getting his excuses in early for a possible defeat to Chelsea at the weekend, Ferguson is already looking ahead to that brazen FIFA marketing tool, December's World Club Cup in Japan, and warning that United may not field its strongest team.
"When we come back [from Japan]...we will have three days before we play again at Stoke on Dec. 26, so that has to
be a concern," Sir Alex said. "We have a good squad, though, and I may keep some players back to make sure that we have some fitness and freshness for the Stoke game. It's nothing definite at this
"Ferguson is fearful that the debilitating effects of the lengthy round-trip could prove detrimental to United unless they adopt the necessary safeguards," explains Mark
Ogden, which one might unkindly interpret as, "Ferguson plans to treat the World Club Cup like he does the English League Cup -- by fielding a side of youth players and reserves." But
Ferguson "insists" the team will take the tournament seriously: "We will leave immediately after the Spurs game on Dec. 13, so that will give us nearly a week to prepare. We should be PK
going out there, but coming back is the problem."
United will compete in the tournament with Concacaf champion Pachuca, Oceania champions Waitakere United, and LDU Quito of Ecuador,
winner of the Copa Libertadores. The still-to-be decided champions of Africa, Asia and Japan will also participate.