Nani admits confidence knock
Man United ace Nani says the leg injury he suffered against Liverpool struck a blow to his confidence.
Last Updated: 16/03/11 4:33pm
Manchester United ace Nani admits the leg injury he suffered against Liverpool struck a blow to his confidence.
The Portuguese winger returned to action against Marseille on Tuesday night after suffering a gashed leg at Anfield earlier this month following a Jamie Carragher challenge.
United were 2-1 victors over their French opponents to progress to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League.
But Nani feels his own display at Old Trafford was below-par, and blames the lingering effects of his injury.
"My leg is okay. It's not 100 per cent but it's okay to play," he told Sky Sports News.
"Of course, my confidence is not the same. The players always like to tackle me. I have to be careful and that's why maybe my football was not the best.
"But it's great to be back. Now I'm just thinking about the next games. I will be much better."
Nani's return provided a welcome lift to United on Tuesday, with several key players on the sidelines.
Defenders John O'Shea and Rafael both picked up knocks against Marseille to add to manager Sir Alex Ferguson's injury woes, but youngster Chris Smalling believes the return of players such as Nani, Michael Carrick and Antonio Valencia boosted the squad.
Smalling said: "Obviously we lost a couple more players tonight but it's good to see Michael Carrick and Antonio coming back.
"All the bodies are starting to feed back at a crucial stage in the season."
Carrick, who made his comeback against Marseille after struggling with calf and groin complaints, admits it was unfortunate to lose two right-backs in O'Shea and Rafael at such a decisive stage in the campaign.
"It was a strange one tonight with two injuries in the same position," he said.
"It's never easy to deal with but luckily we've got such a good squad and strength in depth that people can step in.
"It's not ideal but whatever's thrown at us we have to deal with. Hopefully we'll get the bodies back, if not for Saturday, then for after the international break."
With key players such as Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Ji-sung Park also ruled out with various knocks, veteran midfielder Ryan Giggs agrees the impending international break will provide the perfect opportunity for the United squad to regroup before the season run-in.
"We hope the international break has come at a good time for us," said Giggs.
"We've got a tough game against Bolton on Saturday. Hopefully we'll get through that and then we've got two weeks to get bodies back and hopefully that will be the case."