United internationals looking for club tonic

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MANCHESTER, England, Oct 19 (Reuters) Alex Ferguson believes some of his players can ease their midweek international disappointments by maintaining Manchester United's Premier League title challenge at Aston Villa tomorrow.

The England pair of Rio Ferdinand and Wayne Rooney return to the United squad following Wednesday's defeat in Russia which severely damaged England's qualifying prospects for Euro 2008.

United midfielder Darren Fletcher was in the Scotland side that suffered a damaging defeat in Georgia, while John O'Shea saw the Republic of Ireland's qualification hopes ended.

Ferguson told reporters today that a return to domestic action would help soften the blow.

''The great thing about being a footballer is that you've got the next game. Sometimes it's seven days, sometimes it's four.

They can get over it quickly. That's the beauty of football,'' he said.

''You've got the next game to rectify your disappointments of the previous game.

''And we've had a few disappointments this week. Scotland, Ireland and England were disappointing, in terms of results.

''It's nothing unusual, it happens. And you've got to deal with it. The players have got to deal with it. They are grown men, they are big men and they are able to do that,'' he added.

''And hopefully we can get on with our business on Saturday.'' United face eighth-placed Villa two points behind leaders Arsenal on the back of a six-match winning run in the league, during which time they have not conceded a goal.

''You've got to say it's still open but Arsenal have had a great start,'' Ferguson said.

''They are the ones we are chasing at this moment in time and we will do that with great fervour and determination because I think our team is coming together now.

''We have had some injuries but we are coping with that and we are just getting on with the business of winning games.

Hopefully we can continue that.'' Edwin van der Sar is likely to return in goal after missing two games with a broken toe and Nemanja Vidic is expected to be fit following a head injury he sustained in a 4-0 win over Wigan Athletic a fortnight ago.

Louis Saha, Owen Hargreaves and Gary Neville are still out.

Saha is expected to recover from a knee injury in time to travel to Ukraine for next Tuesday night's Champions League game with Dynamo Kiev but Hargreaves still faces at least another week out with a knee problem.

Neville is yet to play this season but came through two practice matches this week and Ferguson hopes to organise a friendly match for next Wednesday to allow the England international defender to step up his match fitness.

Reuters BJR RN2122

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