Ferguson backs United medics after Hargreaves blames Old Trafford over treatment
ALEX Ferguson has backed Manchester United's "brilliant" medical staff after Owen Hargreaves hit out at the treatment he received during four injury-plagued seasons at Old Trafford.
Hargreaves, who made an outstanding goalscoring debut for rivals Manchester City on Wednesday night, claimed he felt like a "guinea pig" as he was given several injections which he believes actually hindered his recovery.
But the United manager responded this morning, saying that although he did not know the specifics of Hargreaves' treatment, he had complete faith in the club's doctors.
"We're trying to analyse all the stuff he has said and there will be a statement later to address that," Ferguson said.
"As far as I am concerned my medical staff is one of the main reasons why we have been so successful over the last few years.
"Do you think we would be successful if they were not 100pc brilliant? Our doctor and his five physios are fantastic - that is my opinion and that is more important than what anyone else has to say about it."
Hargreaves suffered from persistent tendinitis while at United, resulting in the player undergoing double knee surgery during the 2008-09 season.
Following the operations, Hargreaves played just six minutes of first-team football as he battled to regain fitness and was eventually released by United at the end of the last campaign.
The 30-year-old was this morning quoted in several newspapers claiming the medical treatment he received at United did more harm than good.
"I received some injections but my tendon was never the same," he said.
"After the injections, I tried to get back on my feet and they said my tendon was good, but it felt like I was made out of glass. That obviously had a huge impact.
"With my tendon injury, I've had to be a guinea pig for a lot of these treatments. It's difficult. All the people there [at United] are lovely and everybody tries their best, but at times you come to a certain point where you need to make a decision.
"They said it would help. Basically, I was left to pick up the pieces, which was incredibly frustrating.
"I wanted to play. Everyone wanted me to play, so it's not really an option to say, 'sit it out and rest for six months'. With hindsight it's a lot easier, but I wish I had not had the injections."
Hargreaves is now hoping his injury nightmare is behind him, although he is aware he will have to manage himself well in order to avoid more knee problems in the future.
"I had big surgery, so we're just going to have to be smart," he said.
"My physical function is very good, it's tip-top, but sadly, I'm not 18 any more, so I need more recovery and more time in the gym to prepare for each training session.
"It's just about getting some repetition in my training and trying to find some balance, staying sharp and fit and looking after some of the issues I've had.
"United are one of the biggest clubs in the world, with Barcelona and Real Madrid. They have a lot of wonderful people there.
"I'm sad for myself that I wasn't able to play a bigger part at Old Trafford - I really envisaged it going differently. It didn't really materialise the way I anticipated, but this is a new chapter in my life."
City boss Roberto Mancini believes Hargreaves could be a regular member of his squad within a month if his present progress continues.
"I am happy for Owen," said Mancini.
"He did very well. He played without a problem. As a first game, it was good. I hope he can continue to play without a problem. This is the most important thing.
"The crowd gave him a great reception. This guy deserves everything. After two years with so many injuries, for an important player like him to come back is really difficult.
"He could be an important player. If he doesn't have a problem in the next weeks, he could be part of my first team in a month or two. It depends."