Former Manchester United assistant manager Mike Phelan has slammed Louis van Gaal and blamed the Dutchman for the Red Devils’ injury crisis.
United registered their fifth consecutive league win after their 2-1 away win over Southampton on Monday. The result saw the Red Devils move third in the league table with 28 points from 15 games, trailing second place Manchester City by five points.
During the clash at St Mary’s Stadium, centre-back Chris Smalling limped off the field after picking up an injury. The England international became the 43rd casualty for Van Gaal and United this season so far.
“What’s happened is a continuation of the same players getting injured all the time, so you have to look to the reasons why,” Phelan said, as mentioned by the Daily Mail.
“I think Manchester United changed their thoughts on the fitness regime. They looked at it a little bit differently.
“Tony Strudwick, who was operating as head of sports science and was involved day to day with the first-team. He understood the ins and outs of how to keep players fit, how to keep them ready for competition.
“Then suddenly they moved him sideways and did something completely different. That may have had an effect. That one area has changed.
“They’ve brought in new people with a different way of doing things. The intensity of training may be one thing – it may be too intense, or not intense enough – but obviously slight changes have been made with the present way of doing things.
“I would have thought the squad is big enough at Manchester United, because they can go out and get players in, but obviously they keep breaking down and they don’t seem to be getting any better. They seem to get one back and lose another two,’ he stressed.
Smalling now joins Phil Jones, Daley Blind and Luke Shaw as the key players on the treatment table. In addition to this, club’s record signing Angel Di Maria picked up a hamstring injury against Hull City.
The Red Devils faithful will be hoping that the former Real Madrid star will be fit when United host their arch-rivals, Liverpool, in the league later this weekend.