Louis van Gaal methods could be to blame for Manchester United injury crisis, claims Terry Phelan

Chris Smalling became the 43rd injury of the season during the victory over Southampton on Monday night

Click to follow

Louis van Gaal's failure to understand the specific requirements of individual players and his decision to change the training regime at Manchester United could be to blame for the ongoing injury crisis at Old Trafford.

That's the view of former first-team coach Terry Phelan, who spent 12 years at the club before being dismissed by David Moyes.

During Manchester United's fortunate victory over Southampton on Monday night, Chris Smalling became the club's 43rd injury of the season. The busy treatment table has left Van Gaal struggling to pick a consistent XI and the issue has been used as an excuse for poor results early in the season.

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


Van Gaal replaced Strudwick with Jos van Dijk, who worked with the Dutch manager at Bayern Munich and the Netherlands national team.

Phelan continued: "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."

Manchester United have won their last five games and will be desperate to keep that run going when they play their great rivals Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday.