Manchester United midfielder Park Ji-sung has never known anything quite like the club's present injury list.
By the final whistle of yesterday's 5-0 win over Wigan at Old Trafford, United had 11 players on the treatment table.
They ended up with Michael Carrick and Patrice Evra in central defence, Antonio Valencia at full-back and Wayne Rooney operating in central midfield.
It hardly seems like a policy for sustained success, even though they are now trailing leaders Manchester City only on goal difference after an impressive run of eight wins in nine games.
Even what seemed like the Blues' impregnable goal difference lead has been reduced to just five and as City are not in action until New Year's Day, 24 hours after United have entertained bottom club Blackburn, it looks like Sir Alex Ferguson will receive a 70th birthday present of being on top of the league.
Yet Park cannot help but acknowledge the problem threatening to derail United's season.
"I have never known anything like it," said the South Korean.
"Hopefully we will get our defenders back pretty quickly because we are coming up to some very important games.
"We have to deal with it and get through this period."
Of those who missed out yesterday, Ferguson has highest hopes of Phil Jones and Chris Smalling making a successful recovery from illness.
United have not put a timescale on Rio Ferdinand's absence with a back injury, whilst Jonny Evans looks set to miss a couple of weeks with the calf injury that forced him off at half-time during the Wigan win.
But stand-in skipper Evra is getting concerned.
"I am a little bit worried because we need everyone if we are going to win the league," said the France international.
"It is starting to get annoying.
"It is not the first year we got so many injuries. Two years ago I played with Michael Carrick and Darren Fletcher at the back.
"The most important thing is that we won but I hope everyone gets fit because Blackburn is another big game and we need all the defenders."
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