Manchester United manager has been accused of utilising prehistoric training methods, whilst also putting the needs of players second.
Manchester United host Swansea City in the third round of the FA Cup at 16:30 local-time today, Sunday, but there will be one notable absentee - Robin van Persie, sidelined with a muscular injury in his leg, and a figure who manager David Moyes has been unable to call upon - properly - since November.
Against Cardiff City, Tottenham Hotspur and Everton, in a period that ran from late November to the start of December, van Persie was in the treatment room due to a groin strain. He returned to the starting line-up for United's match versus Newcastle United on December 7 - a game they lost 1-0 at Old Trafford - and van Persie was back on the physio's table, this time with a thigh complaint.
'I think if I’d brought him off [against Newcastle] some people would say "What are you doing? You are 1-0 down and you’re taking off your top goalscorer,"' began Moyes, as quoted by The Mirror, today, when reflecting on an erroneous decision that has seemingly jeopardised van Persie's fitness ever since.
Has Moyes' decision-making been governed by what fans and the media deem correct, even if this goes against the short-term health of a player? Verheijen believes athletes should never be rushed back, but that their return should be a gradual process, rather than a 90 minute appearance, like van Persie featured in against Newcastle.
Moyes, from a different school of though, continued: 'I think that answers why I left him on. Robin had a sore groin and, after he played really well against Arsenal, we gave him a week’s holiday to recover. When he came back he hasn’t really been right since then. He played against Newcastle and then in the next game he pulled his thigh taking a corner.'
Moyes is publicly confident in the manner in which he has treated the injury situation thus far, adding: 'I think we have looked to do things correctly,' but these actions have not exempt from criticism.
The Scotsman's 'prehistoric' methods on the training ground astounded esteemed Dutch fitness coach Raymond Verheijen, who has spoken out over the issue numerous times in the past and again last month, claiming Moyes has long suffered from injury crises and that the pattern will likely repeat itself unless things are changed at Carrington.
Just two days ago Verheijen lamented on his official social network about coaches who 'sacrifice players and keep making the same mistakes as they only look at the short term, and suffer in the longer term'.
Is this something Moyes is now guilty of? Is his admission over why he left van Persie on during the Newcastle United game vindication of Verheijen's long-running censure that Moyes focuses primarily on results rather than the process (which yields good results in itself), that Moyes is perhaps insecure and only looks at the short-term?
Only time will tell, unfortunately, but with seven players currently injured - most of them muscular related - the trend Verheijen is publicising is not looking like fading.
image: © jikatu