Champions leave West Brom as wounded winners

Manchester United were left counting the cost of their season-opening 2-1 win at West Bromwich Albion on...

Soccer

Manchester United were left counting the cost of their season-opening 2-1 win at West Bromwich Albion on Sunday, with injuries to defenders Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, and new goalkeeper David De Gea enduring another erratic performance.

Before kickoff at The Hawthorns, the champions announced that Brazilian full-back Rafael da Silva had dislocated his shoulder and would be out for the next 10 weeks.

Their defensive problems deepened once the match was underway, with their two experienced central defenders Vidic and Ferdinand forced off with injuries in the second half.

Captain Vidic struggled for most of the game with a knee injury before coming off in the 52nd minute and is expected to be out for at least two weeks.

Ferdinand faces a lnger spell on the sidelines with a hamstring injury which forced him off 15 minutes from time and is likely to be out for six weeks, ruling him out of England's Euro 2012 qualifiers against Wales and Bulgaria next month.

Speaking afterwards, manager Alex Ferguson told Sky Sports: "We've had a rough time with injuries.

"Young Rafa has done his shoulder in training on Friday and will be out for 10 weeks, he's probably going to have an operation.

"Rio will be out for six weeks. Vida will have checks on Monday, we don't know if it's just a nerve or something, but he could be out for a couple of weeks."

Although United won with a well-taken strike from Wayne Rooney after 13 minutes and an own goal by Steven Reid nine minutes from time, the other main concern for United was new goalie De Gea's performance.

The 20-year-old Spaniard, tipped for a long career at United, followed up two mistakes in last week's Community Shield win over Manchester City, with another blunder that allowed West Brom to equalise with a tame shot from debutant Shane Long.

Ferguson added: "David's concentration cost him the goal, it was a slack goal to lose.

"He took a battering in the second half. It was a real welcome to English football. He was targeted. You saw the abuse he got, but he had to withstand it and it was a good experience for him.

"It is always a learning process when goalkeepers come here from Europe. It was the same when Peter Schmeichel joined us.

"His first away game was at Wimbledon and they gave him a torrid time. David is only 20 and he will come though. I just gave him a pat on the back and said 'welcome to England'."