Manchester United have been hit by an injury crisis on the eve of their Champions League semi-final first leg against Milan.
Only 10 outfield players were able to take part in full training on Monday ahead of Tuesday’s Old Trafford encounter.
Defenders Rio Ferdinand, Gary Neville, Nemanja Vidic, Mikael Silvestre will definitely miss the game, while Patrice Evra is considered doubtful.
If Evra misses out, Darren Fletcher is set to fill in at right-back, with Wes Brown and John O’Shea forming an unfamiliar centre-back pairing.
Midfielders Ji-Sung Park and Kieran Richardson will miss the game, along with striker Louis Saha, while Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was unable to train on Monday but is expected to be fit to take his place on the bench.
United boss Sir Alex Ferguson said: “We’re down to the bare bones. We are playing with 12 players.
“It’s not a time for feeling sorry for ourselves. It’s time to show what we are made of. It’s been well documented in the history of our football club that we do it the hard way anyway.
“We have to restore the players’ energies for Tuesday because it is a massive game for them and it’s a game they should enjoy.
“All the big players are available. The only problem I have is maybe having an adequate bench, but I’m happy with the squad I’ve got,” said the United boss.
“Obviously you miss players like Rio Ferdinand and Gary Neville in big matches but the spirit is good.
“We should expect a very good performance with the players we have.”
Milan, meanwhile, were able to rest a number of players for their league match against Cagliari on Saturday.
Manager Carlo Ancelotti has a virtually fully-fit squad available, with striker Alberto Gilardino available for selection after missing the quarter-final second leg victory over Bayern Munich through suspension.
Keeper Dida has been included in the squad but is a doubt with a shoulder injury, while Ronaldo is cup-tied.
Ancelotti was encouraged by the news that Ferdinand will miss the first leg.
“Ferdinand is a very important player for their defence,” he said.
“But we will have to be careful and keep possession of the ball but that could be a two-edged sword, because if we do not do well our opponents could hit us on the counter-attack.”