Sunday 17 December 2017

Jose Mourinho takes action as Manchester United injury list grows

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho

Jack de Menezes

Jose Mourinho has ordered a complete review into Manchester United’s medical department after seeing his squad depleted by injuries throughout the start to his reign at Old Trafford, having suffered more player losses than any other club in the Premier League this season.

Mourinho hit the headlines at the weekend when he openly criticised the commitment shown by Chris Smalling and Luke Shaw in their withdrawal from the trip to Swansea, but it appears his concerns go much deeper than just the players’ mentality.

The Times report that Mourinho is “hugely frustrated” with the number of injuries United have suffered this season, with the number of match days lost this season through player injuries reaching 33 at the weekend.

But Mourinho is also keen not to single out any individual among his medical staff for criticism, with the experienced doctor Steve McNally heading the department. Both Shaw and Smalling have been hampered by niggling injuries this season, although the former’s relate to the horrific broken leg he suffered 14 months ago.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates his second goal alongside Phil Jones as he gives Manchester United a kick start against Swansea. Photo: Stu Forster/Getty Images

However, Mourinho has seen a number of first-team members ruled out over the last three months, with Wayne Rooney, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Phil Jones (above) and Anthony Martial among those to suffer spells consigned to the sidelines.

Having refused to play Mkhitaryan since the Manchester derby defeat in September, Mourinho finally recalled the Armenian for Thursday’s Europa League loss to Fenerbahce where he came off the substitutes’ bench to play the final half an hour.

But the handling of his fitness has been a major cause of concern for Mourinho, who was told he was fit to face Manchester City despite suffering a thigh injury while on international duty. Mkhitaryan lasted just 45 minutes before being replaced at half-time by Mourinho, and the winger was subsequently ruled out for nearly two months with the same injury, although it did take three days for him to undergo a scan and determine the extent of the injury.

The report adds that Mourinho’s methods are also being called into question, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic raising concerns over his fitness and his belief that he has lost some of the sharpness that made him so dangerous at Paris Saint-Germain last season.

Premier League stats appear to confirm the Swede’s concerns, with United covering less ground than any other club in the top flight, and it’s claimed that the 35-year-old believes a lack of aerobic training is the cause of the problem with Mourinho favouring sessions that involve working with the ball.

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Independent News Service

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