Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson praises Nani's 'fantastic talent' but will be worried by Phil Jones injury

United beat Reading 2-1 to progress in the FA Cup

Sir Alex Ferguson admitted last night that Luis Nani had left him with a selection headache after his exquisite performance sent Manchester United into the FA Cup quarter-finals and on course to meet Rafael Benitez's Chelsea.

Nani's troubled season in Manchester was compounded by a collision with an unmarked police car in south Manchester last Friday night, which left him uninjured. But the 26-year-old winger could reflect on a performance which may encourage Ferguson to go to new lengths to persuade him to sign a new deal replacing the current contract which expires in the summer of next year.

"He has got great talent, we know about that," Ferguson said of Nani. "He is a fantastic talent. I had a feeling he would win the game for us. You could see he was right on form when he came on: two great strikes immediately and he was a threat to them after that all night. It is a good addition. If he keeps that form it makes my job more difficult." Nani said: "I'm so happy for the time [on the pitch] and I will keep working."

But the gloss was taken off Ferguson's night by an ankle injury which saw Phil Jones substituted before half time and limping out of Old Trafford on crutches with his right foot in a cast. The manager said the ankle injury would be assessed today and that Jones would probably miss Saturday's visit to Queen's Park Rangers. But the player's availability for the home leg of United's Champions League tie with Real Madrid on 5 March is also in doubt – a blow, since he played a crucial role in quelling Cristiano Ronaldo's threat during the 1-1 draw in the Bernabeu last week.

Ferguson said his side had been profligate in front of goal, on a night when the Reading defence were at their best. "If you don't score the goals you should do, and then concede one, then the last 10 minutes can be scary," he said. "At 0-0 you have to be [worried]. They scored the goal and we didn't want the replay. You don't want that. But in fairness we dug in. We defended the long throw-ins into the box which a lot of teams do these days and just hoped they get the final touch. But we could have scored a lot of goals. In that sense, I am satisfied."

His opposite number, Brian McDermott, who hopes to have Noel Hunt available to face Wigan at home on Saturday despite needing staples to a head wound, justifiably argued that his side had no reason to feel they lacked ambition. "[I'm] not regretting anything. It's about having the opportunity to do it. They're a great team and manager who will probably win the league," he said. "Sir Alex was talking about the best squad he has ever had and I wouldn't argue with him. We were right in there right to the end. It was a proper performance for our fans. Now we move on to our next game."

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Down time: an employee of Google uses the slide to get to the canteen
businessHow bosses are inventing unusual ways of making us work harder
News
Actor, model and now record breaker: Jiff the Pomeranian
news
News
REX/Eye Candy
science
News
i100
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring his first goal for Arsenal in the Champions League qualifier against Besiktas
sportChilean's first goal for the club secures place in draw for Champions League group stages
Arts and Entertainment
Amis: 'The racial situation in the US is as bad as it’s been since the Civil War'
booksAuthor says he might come back across Atlantic after all
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
Google Doodle celebrates the 200th birthday of Irish writer Sheridan Le Fanu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
News
i100
News
In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Jim Carrey and Kate Winslett medically erase each other from their memories
scienceTechnique successfully used to ‘reverse’ bad memories in rodents could be used on trauma victims
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Pixie Lott will take part in Strictly Come Dancing 2014, the BBC has confirmed
tv
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?