United have now suffered 43 injuries this season. Adam Davy/EMPICS Sport

Former United assistant Mike Phelan puts Red Devils' injury woes down to backroom staff upheaval

Phelan is now working at Norwich City as first team coach.

FORMER MANCHESTER UNITED assistant manager Mike Phelan believes that the changes made to Alex Ferguson’s long-standing set-up at Old Trafford may be responsible for the club’s recent injury problems.

Chris Smalling limped off against Southampton on Monday as the Red Devils suffered their 43rd injury of the campaign, with the likes of Angel Di Maria, Luke Shaw and Phil Jones all still on the sidelines due to fitness issues.

And Phelan, who worked alongside Ferguson at Old Trafford between 2008 and 2013, believes a shake-up in staff – including the removal of fitness coach Tony Strudwick from day-to-day duties – following Louis van Gaal’s arrival at the club in July has played a part in their recent woes.

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

“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, 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.”

Phelan also believes that a change in training regimes may have had an impact, with the former Netherlands coach having reportedly brought in double sessions at Carrington for his squad.

“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.

“Van Gaal knows now roughly the intensity of the Premier League and what his players can produce. He’s been at the highest level, working with the highest players, in different countries.

“It’s just a case of maybe understanding the specific requirements of players, individual players, where they need to be at certain times in order to perform. He’s got enough staff there to sort that out.”

What is the Fallon d’Floor award – and who is in the running?

‘It’s gone the wrong way…’: Thommo had a rollercoaster 10 minutes watching Liverpool last night

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.