Phelan: Manchester United injury crisis is Van Gaal’s fault

Former Manchester United assistant manager Mike Phelan has blamed Louis van Gaal for the club’s current injury woes.

Phelan spent five years as Sir Alex Ferguson’s right-hand man at Old Trafford before leaving when David Moyes took over the reins in 2013.

He has since returned to football with Norwich, and has now claimed that United’s injury crisis in 2014/15 is down to their new manager.

“They’ve brought in new people with a different way of doing things,” said Phelan.

“What’s happened is a continuation of the same players getting injured all the time, so you have to look to the reasons why.

“I think Manchester United changed their thoughts on the fitness regime, they looked at it a bit differently.”

United currently have eight first-team squad members out of action through injury, with the defence having been particularly affected.

Chris Smalling was the latest player to hobble off through a knock during Monday night’s win over Southampton, while key players such as Angel Di Maria and Luke Shaw are sidelined until later this month.

And Phelan cited Van Gaal’s decision to relieve Tony Strudwick – the Red’s fitness coach with direct responsibility for the conditioning of the first-team squad – as the main reason for the casualty list.

“Tony Strudwick, who was operating as head of sports science, was involved day to day with the first team.

“Tony understood the ins and outs of how to keep players fit. 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.

“He understood how to keep players 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.”

Main image courtesy of MUTV via YouTube, with thanks.

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