Manchester United’s Japanese playmaker Shinji Kagawa ruled out of Chelsea trip with knee injury

By Dean Wilkins

Shinji Kagawa could be forced onto the injury table for up to a month after limping off through injury during Manchester United’s Champions League win yesterday.

The Japanese attacking midfielder twisted his knee shortly after setting up Javier Hernandez to grab United’s first of three goals at Old Trafford.

And after struggling through the rest of the first half, Sir Alex Ferguson was pushed into bringing on Nani in replace of Kagawa and reverting to a 4-4-2 style from his diamond formation.

“Shinji twisted his knee,” Sir Alex said. “We had to take him off. He struggled on for 20 minutes after he got the injury.

“I was confident the diamond would be important for us but, when you’re 2-0 down, it’s easy for them to kill the game by playing it out wide. So we had to change things with Nani on the right and [Wayne] Rooney on the left. Kagawa’s injury forced my hand to play Nani as a wide player and it made a difference in terms of their possession.”

Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand, Paul Scholes and Danny Welbeck sat out the fixture against FC Braga as Fergie kept the Reds trip to Chelsea this Sunday at the back of his mind.

And Anders Lindergaard will join Kagawa in staying at home with injury as United face a top of the Premier League table clash with Roberto Di Matteo’s men.

“Anders hurt his thumb on Sunday morning in training,” added Sir Alex. “He should be okay in a week’s time but he won’t be available for the weekend.”

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