Sir Alex Ferguson sticks up for Man United medical staff
Man United boss defends medical team after Owen Hargreaves questioned the treatment he received
Sir Alex Ferguson has defended Manchester United’s medical staff after Owen Hargreaves criticised the treatment he received at Old Trafford for a knee injury.
The United manager claims the club’s doctors and physios have played a big part in Red Devils’ success over the years, hailing them as “brilliant”.
“As far as I am concerned my medical staff are one of the main reasons why we have been so successful over the last few years,” said Ferguson.
“Do you think we would be successful if they were not 100 per cent brilliant? That is my opinion and that is more important than what anyone else has to say about it.”
United issued a statement on Friday denying Hargreaves’ claims. It read: “Manchester United is disappointed with Owen Hargreaves’ remarks after the game on Wednesday.
“The club gave him the best possible care for three years and is as disappointed as anyone he was not able to play a part in the team’s success at that time.
“It has shared all the medical records with Manchester City and is comfortable with the actions taken by its medical staff at each step of his many attempts at rehabilitation.
“United does not acknowledge any validity in the comments Owen is alleged to have made.
“Manchester United has some of the best sports medical staff in world sport, who have made a significant contribution to United’s on-pitch success in recent seasons.”
Hargreaves claimed a series of injections administered by medical staff at Old Trafford caused his condition to deteriorate, leaving him feeling like he was “made of glass”.
The 30-year-old made only five appearances for United in his last three seasons at Old Trafford and joined Manchester City on a free transfer after he was released by the club in the summer.
“I received some injections but my tendon was never the same,” Hargreaves told the Guardian. “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, who scored on his City debut as they eased to a 2-0 victory over Birmingham in the Carling Cup on Wednesday, is now focused on holding down a regular spot in Roberto Mancini’s first team.
“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.”
The England international added that he was disappointed his career at United was hampered by injury setbacks and that he could not play a more important role at Old Trafford.
“United are one of the biggest clubs in the world, with Barcelona and Real Madrid,” he added. “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.”