Alex Ferguson says Phil Jones will miss Manchester United’s Champions League last-16 clash with Real Madrid on Tuesday.
Jones limped out of the FA Cup game against Reading in February with an ankle injury and has lost his race to be ready for the round-of-16 second leg against Real at Old Trafford.
“He’s not fit. He won’t be fit for (Tuesday),” Ferguson told reporters.
“His performance over there was absolutely excellent. It’s a miss but it’s not something we can’t manage, we’ve got options.”
Ferguson said that while he hopes to stop former United man Cristiano Ronaldo, he is keen not to lose focus on his own team’s attributes.
“What do you expect when you play against a team with Ronaldo in it? You expect problems during the night, and we’ll have to try to curtail that as best we can,” he said.
“It’s not going to be easy because he does it every week. The experience young Rafael had in the first half in Madrid will hopefully help him, because he will be given the same task again.
“I don’t think it’s one we should fear. If we go and worry about the damage that Cristiano can do to us then we forget some of the things we can do ourselves.
“As we know, I believe they are one of the best counterattacking teams in Europe. That showed itself last Tuesday at Camp Nou, they were absolutely stunning,” he said, referring to Real Madrid’s 3-1 Copa del Rey win away to Barcelona.
“We’ve got to find a way of coping with that but posing an attacking threat also.
“If you’re preparing for a game at any level you have to pay respect to the strength of the other team, which we do.
“We look at their dangerous players and tactics … we also know about the strength of our own team and where we are … hopefully it helps us tomorrow.”
According to Ferguson, veteran Ryan Giggs can expect to feature against Real, either from the start or off the bench.
“Well, he played against QPR and we always like to keep him fresh,” he said.
“Tomorrow he will be involved at some point, whether starting or on the bench, I haven’t made my mind up. His experience of these occasions will be vital to us.”