Date: 23rd April 2008 at 8:21am
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‘Wayne Rooney suggested he’ll live up to Sir Alex’s expectation and be fit to face Barca, despite receiving a knock at Ewood Park.’ That’s how manutd.com put that Rooney might not be in the starting line-up. They also note that Vidic missed training and that Brown trained separately from the rest of the squad.

So are they struggling with injuries really? Of course we know Vidic has just returned and that Rooney’s got a knock on Saturday. Still, Fergie could have told us that the big Serbian missed training as a pre-caution and he will definitely play, to calm us down, to assure us.

However, that was not his intention, or so I think. I’m pretty certain he already knows what team he’ll send out the Nou Camp’s pitch tonight – and if he wanted, he could have given definite news about the players’ fitness. The press conference was nothing like that: it was only about the chance to achieve a historic success and all that.

Now these are petty attempts at mind games, trying to confuse the opponent by keeping them in doubt over who will play. I’m sure that Fergie would never try it against the likes of Arsene Wenger who only know him too well and would not get hopeful over such news like that Vidic missed a training. But Frank Rijkaard who is rumoured to have lost the dressing room and is low on confidence may fall for it as spectacularly as Kevin Keegan did back then.

If he has an ounce of common sense, though, he will tell his players not to listen to anything as Rooney and Vidic will definitely play. If they raise their hopes of getting an easier ride, it could turn nasty when they get disappointed. But I think even this current Barcelona squad is better mentally than that.