Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Valencia pleased with wing return

Antonio Valencia

Antonio Valencia is relieved Manchester United's defensive injury problems have finally started to ease.

Such has been the strife Sir Alex Ferguson has been forced to endure this season, the Ecuador wide man has alternated between his usual right wing role and that of full-back. But his performance in Saturday's Barclays Premier League win over Bolton emphasised why Valencia is not the only one who is glad more accustomed options to fill the right-back role are at hand.

"It is really pleasing thinking that we are getting everyone back to full fitness," he told MUTV. "It is nice to be back in my favoured position, that I have always played in throughout my career."

He added: "At full-back, going forward is not a problem. Defending is slightly more difficult.

"There is more pressure because you are playing closer to your own goal. You have to be really focused and concentrated to make sure you don't commit an error that can lead to a goal.

"It is the same for any defender so I have to work hard to stay really sharp because that is area of the field where you get punished."

There could be a further spin-off if speculation that Dimitar Berbatov is weighing up a return to Germany proves to be correct.

After a run of six goals in three games, Berbatov's anonymous display in the defeat at Newcastle a fortnight ago led to him being left out of United's squad for the FA Cup victory over Manchester City.

Although the 30-year-old was on the bench this weekend, Javier Hernandez was called upon to replace injured goalscorer Danny Welbeck, leaving last season's Golden Boot winner once again kicking his heels.

Even with Michael Owen sidelined, Berbatov's chances appear to be limited and Ferguson's recent assertion that United would take up a one-way option on his contract may not mean much if any transfer fee could be invested elsewhere.