Jones injury casts shadow over United win

Phil Jones left Old Trafford on crutches on Monday to cast a shadow over Manchester United's 2-1 FA Cup win over Reading.

Phil Jones, Manchester United

Second-half goals from Nani and Javier Hernandez provided enough insurance for United to repel a Reading revival after Jobi McAnuff gave them hope.

But the loss of Jones, who hurt his ankle in the first half after a tackle with McAnuff, is a blow given the England man did such a superb job keeping Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo quiet in the first leg of the Champions League tie at the Bernabeu last week.

"We'll have to assess it in the morning," said United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

"It's an ankle injury obviously so I'd imagine he'll not be ready for Saturday anyway.

"But we'll see what he's like after that."

Saturday's trip to QPR is the least of Ferguson's worries, though, with the obvious requirement now for Jones to be patched up for that Real rematch at Old Trafford on March 5, which will now be followed by an FA Cup quarter-final against either Chelsea or Middlesbrough.

Nani's opener broke some stubborn Reading resistance, which threatened to earn them a replay.

Javier Hernandez seemed to take the game away from them completely with his 15th goal of the season shortly afterwards, only for McAnuff to pull one back which ensured a few nervy moments at the end before United were able to take another stride forward in their Treble quest.

"The last 10 minutes were a bit scary," said Ferguson.

"Some of the football tonight [Monday] was fantastic and we could have scored a lot of goals. In that way I'm satisfied.

"We didn't want a replay though and in fairness, we dug in and defended the long throw-ins and the balls into the box.

"You cannot get any better than a home tie in the cup. It doesn't matter who we play, at Old Trafford we have got a chance."

Reading manager Brian McDermott was full of praise for his own side's efforts.

"We gave them a real run for their money," he said.

"In the last 20 mins we played some very good football.

"But they have some fantastic players and Nani is one of them.

"It makes you think when they can bring on players like Robin van Persie as well. When he was warming up I did speak to him and told him to sit down."

McDermott does feel it will be decent preparation for a return visit in the Premier League later this season, although before that, they have the small matter of a relegation scrap with Wigan, whose manager Roberto Martinez was at Monday's game, at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday.

"It is the first time I have managed here and it was good for me personally and my players to come here," he said.

"We have to come back here in the league and will know a bit more about what to expect.

"We really wanted to put on a performance for our fans and we have done that.

"Now we can look forward to Saturday's game against Wigan."



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