Friday 23 March 2018

Scholes hoping United avoid repeat of injury curse

Mark Ogden

PAUL SCHOLES says Manchester United must avoid a repeat of last season's injury curse if they are to reclaim the Premier League title from Chelsea.

United narrowly failed to become the first club in English football to claim four successive league championships last term, finishing just one point adrift of Carlo Ancelotti's team.

Despite falling short last season, United manager Alex Ferguson has insisted that his squad remain capable of bouncing back, with the club's young players emerging to support the older generation of Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville.

Only Javier Hernandez and Chris Smalling have been added to the squad ahead of the new season, and with Rio Ferdinand, Michael Owen and Owen Hargreaves all missing the summer tour of the United States due to injury, concerns have been raised over the fitness of key players.

A defensive crisis last season meant United played without up to eight first-team defenders in December, while long-term injuries to Hargreaves, Owen and Brazilian midfielder Anderson also hit the team hard.

And Scholes admits that United have to enjoy more luck with injuries to overhaul Chelsea this season. He said: "As a team, we want to get back on track after finishing second to Chelsea last season. It wasn't great for us. Obviously, we would have liked to have won the league, but the injuries we had last year were a massive blow.

"We just hope we can stay injury free next season, play a bit better and hopefully win some more trophies. But it's always been a competitive league and last season showed that.

"Spurs had a bit more money to spend and they spent it well. They managed to get into the Champions League. Obviously Manchester City, with their money, just missed out on the Champions League, but I'm sure they will be right up there again this season."

United are due to face Philadelphia Union tomorrow in the second game of their pre-season tour. Searing temperatures combined with a severe thunderstorm yesterday have conspired to present challenging conditions for Ferguson's squad during training.

But Scholes admits that the demanding elements can help United's preparations as they build up to their Premier League opener against Newcastle at Old Trafford on August 16.

He said: "With the hot weather, it can be difficult, but hopefully the work we do here will stand us in good stead.

"Pre-season isn't a quiet time for us. It's when we try to get ready for the season, so we will be training twice a day over here and then playing the games." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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