Former Manchester United assistant manager Mike Phelan has suggested there are two main reasons for the club’s current problems in the treatment room.
United have been one of the sides worst affected by injuries this season and Phelan believes it’s down to key decisions, which have been made by current first team boss Louis van Gaal.
Those decisions relate to removing an experienced fitness professional at the club and the way the side has been training.
“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,” Phelan is quoted by the Daily Mail.
“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.”
Van Gaal was always going to make changes in terms of his personnel in the same way that any manager would do at a new club.
It takes time for all new staff members to get their ideas across to players and while Phelan criticises the removal of Strudwick, it’s a decision which won’t be frowned upon if United get into the Champions League and compete for the title over the second half of the season.
As for training intensity, that’s something that only LvG has control over but he has enough experience to realise that as the source of the problem if it’s the reason United are picking up more injuries than other teams at the moment.
Key players will gradually return to the team and will make United a stronger side to face over the second half of the campaign.