Manchester United sit comfortably in fourth place and look good for Champions League football, but former striker Michael Owen didn’t hold back as he laid into manager Louis van Gaal on the BT Sports Panel show last night.
Owen was specifically critical of United’s long injury list from this season, which has seen LvG have to dip into the club’s youth team ranks for players to cover key positions across his first team.
“There are clubs that do get a lot of injuries – You have to forget about luck and really check on what you’re doing,” said Owen.
“I think it’s a real poor season so far for United. They’ve had a relatively easy start and they should be right up there near the top of the league."
On the first point about injuries, they are something that van Gaal had to contend with from day once when he came into the side after the World Cup.
In the space of under two years, the core of United’s squad have had to adapt to the training methods of four different individuals who have been in charge of the first team.
There’s every chance that van Gaal’s experience with injury problems over the first half of the season will cause him to increase and improve the strength of his players over the second half of the campaign.
It’s a fair point that United were poor in early fixtures they were expected to win, but they have since played well in some difficult games, which tripped them up last year.
They were unlucky not to win at home against Chelsea and they scraped through difficult periods of the match against Arsenal to ultimately push on and pick up three points.
What it boils down to is Champions League football for next season which keeps the sponsors happy, the cash coming in and the appeal of the club high. Are United on course for that? They certainly are.