Manchester clubs united in defeat

Ferguson must 'gamble' by resting players for league game to overcome home reverse, while injured Kompany and Lescott set to miss vital matches as limp City crash in Lisbon

Sir Alex Ferguson last night admitted that he faced gambling with Manchester United's hopes of retaining the Premier League in an attempt to keep alive his side's faltering Europa League campaign.

The United manager, whose side fell to their second successive Europa league defeat in the 3-2 home loss to Athletic Bilbao, again cited a lack of defensive experience and suggested he is considering resting Rio Ferdinand from Sunday's match with West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford – to have him fresh for next Thursday's last-16 return. "He is such a great player and his experience away from home it's a possibility [that I'll rest him for West Brom]," said Ferguson, who insisted the tie as still alive for his club. "I think I will gamble a couple on Sunday for Thursday's game."

Ferguson lost Chris Smalling, whose stitches from a deep wound sustained playing for England came undone, leaving him a doubt for the weekend. He admitted that his side, who lost at home to Ajax last month, had again been made to look second best in Europe's junior competition. "Our defending wasn't very good tonight," he said. "No doubt they were the better team very aggressive in terms of their attacking and pressing the ball."

Meanwhile, the Manchester City manager, Roberto Mancini, fears that Vincent Kompany will miss the next two weeks of the season at least with a calf injury. Mancini saw his captain limp off after just eight minutes of one of his side's most lacklustre displays of the season as they lost 1-0 at Sporting Lisbon on a disastrous night for the Premier League's top two sides.

Kompany will certainly miss Sunday's game at Swansea and a potentially vital home game with Chelsea. Joleon Lescott also suffered a groin injury and may also be doubtful. Mancini chose not to risk his main right-back, Micah Richards, last night while another, Pablo Zabaleta, is sidelined with a hamstring injury. "A calf injury is a serious thing," said Mancini of Kompany. "It could be a big problem but we hope it could also be 10 days maximum. But we have three good central defenders and I hope we can cope without this player."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test