United count cost of attack on four fronts

Fixtures mount up along with injuries as Old Trafford side chase the quadruple
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The Independent Football

It is the final frontier for Sir Alex Ferguson in his relentless quest for trophies over 22 years at Manchester United, but John O'Shea has said that the club could win an unprecedented four this season, having reached the Carling Cup final with a 4-2 victory over Derby County on Tuesday night.

Their victory came at a price, with injuries to Anderson, Rafael da Silva and Jonny Evans, the first of which was thought to be the most serious. United opted to wait until today to assess the full extent of Anderson's ankle injury after the midfielder's scan yesterday proved inconclusive. The Brazilian international will undergo further tests, with the club hopeful that he has not sustained a fracture.

In the meantime, Ferguson will have to plan for a Carling Cup final on 1 March that falls between the away and home games against Internazionale in the Champions League. They play their league game in hand over Liverpool – against Fulham – the week after next. However, they will have to rearrange the home game against Portsmouth which clashes with the Carling Cup final.

"We are going for all four," O'Shea said. "It is something you hope for at the start of the season. There is confidence that these four trophies are all up for grabs. And when you have the players and belief we have, why not?

"Fingers crossed when the Champions League starts up again we will have a fully fit squad. That is when we will start to dream about those sorts of things. For the moment we will just look at each game individually, but it is going well for us so far. Fingers crossed we will be OK for Saturday [against Tottenham] with injuries. The thing is, players know if they are not fit other lads can come in, do well and keep their positions. That should be an incentive for people to get up off the treatment table and get playing. We are all going to be needed over the next few weeks."

The United assistant manager Mike Phelan also explained the reasoning behind the surprise late introduction of Cristiano Ronaldo into the game against Derby on Tuesday night. The Portuguese winger was brought on at a time when United looked well in control and before the two late goals by Giles Barnes. Ronaldo then went on to score a penalty himself.

Phelan said Ronaldo needed a goal, having failed to score for 11 games since United's 5-0 win against Stoke on 15 November. "It is unusual for Cristiano to go so long without scoring," Phelan said. "We had a plan and it was to get him on to the pitch and, hopefully, get him to score a goal. From that point of view it worked for us and it was his first penalty for a while as well. That's good for him and we hope now his confidence will be up there again."

Sick Bay: Ferguson's injury list

Wayne Rooney Injured hamstring against Wigan last week. Expected back early next month.

Patrice Evra Injured toe setting up goal against Chelsea this month.

Rio Ferdinand Not played since 13 December, suffering with back injury.

Jonny Evans Out for week with ankle injury picked up against Derby.

Nani Minor groin strain. Not expected to be out for more than a week.

Anderson Awaiting results of X-ray on ankle after being carried off after victory over Derby this week.

Rafael Out for few weeks after picking up hamstring injury this week.

Wes Brown Close to return from ankle injury after being out since October.

Gary Neville Not expected to be out for long after picking up knock.

Ryan Giggs Suffered knock against Derby, expected back within a week.

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