Sir Alex deploys expert juggling skills to keep Manchester United squad happy with Champions League success

By Dean Wilkins

Being Britain’s most-successful manager in football history does not come without expert juggling skills as Manchester United chief Sir Alex Ferguson reveals his selection headache.

After notching up 26 years in the Old Trafford hotseat yesterday, the Scotsman takes his team to Braga tonight for their fourth Champions League group game and hopes to continue their 100% record.

A win would seal United’s progression to the knockout stages, a result that Fergie is desperate to earn not just for the sake of their run in the competition but to ease players’ frustration of not playing.

“I hope we can get to that stage [of already sealing qualification] because if you look at the squad I have at the moment, it’s quite a strong squad and having to keep everybody happy is difficult,” he told the club’s official website.

“We are making changes in some games but by that time we’ve hopefully got the two young defenders [Chris Smalling and Phil Jones] coming back and it’ll be a good opportunity to give them the experience of playing in European football, so it could be a key moment for us if we can get to that stage.”

Darren Fletcher and Paul Scholes are being rested for the tie, but with four top strikers in Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck all vying for their place Ferguson is struggling with his selections.

But with their journey in Europe’s elite competition set to continue, Fergie is delighted to have bounced back from last year’s sloppiness.

“I think we misread it last year,” he added. “The previous group stages we were going through quite easily, but last year we certainly didn’t, so therefore this year we’re making sure we play our stronger teams.

“Hopefully that gets us into the next stage because that’s what matters. We may win on Wednesday, we may lose, we may draw, but the important thing is that having nine points gives us a big chance of going through.”

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