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Giggs: Injuries are no excuse.

Ryan giggs insisted Manchester United will not be able to blame absent friends if they suffer Champions League humiliation to Dinamo Bucharest tomorrow. United will limp into the Romanian capital without nine senior members of Sir Alex Ferguson's squad knowing they must avoid an upset that would threaten their participation in the group stages of a competition that is vital both financially and professionally.

The Red Devils lost a similar encounter with Hungarian unknowns Zalaegerszeg two years ago at a time when Ferguson had virtually a fully-fit squad to choose from.

This time, United have been decimated by injuries, suspension and Olympic calls. Even so, Giggs reckons there will be no excuses should his team-mates come up short in the national stadium this week.

'Obviously, we would prefer to go into a new season with a clean slate but that wasn't to be,' said the Welsh international.

'Injuries are part and parcel of football and we have still have a squad capable of going out on Wednesday and winning the game.

'If we don't approach the tie in the right way, we could come unstuck but we will prepare properly.

'We are not used to having such a massive match so early in the season.

'It is going to be difficult but we definitely have the players and team to do it.'

One of United's most serious injury concerns is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer whose career is hanging in the balance after it was confirmed the popular striker is likely to miss the whole of the season with his knee problem.

It is the second season in succession Solskjaer has been ravaged by the same problem and, apart from puncturing a massive hole in Sir Alex Ferguson's striking plans for the new campaign, it raises the obvious possibility that Solskjaer will never play again.

The man who famously scored United's injury-time winner in the 1999 Champions League final against Bayern Munich, is in the final year of his contract and there was some doubt over whether he would be offered an extension even before yesterday's news.

'Ole underwent an arthroscopy in Gothenburg yesterday,' said a United spokesman. 'This unfortunately confirmed persistent damage to the articular cartilage of his right knee.

'He will undergo further treatment but it is likely that Ole will miss the whole of this season.'
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Aug 10, 2004
Words:387
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