Louis van Gaal believes that Manchester United would have performed much better this season were it not for an injury crisis earlier in the campaign.
Man United briefly topped the Premier League table following a win over Watford in November.
However, the likes of Wayne Rooney, Matteo Darmian, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Antonio Valencia all picked up significant injuries over the Christmas period and United subsequently suffered a series of demoralising losses. Van Gaal insisted United were in good shape before the crisis.
“When everybody was fit, we were first in the league at that time,” van Gaal.
“Then when we had 14 injuries, or the double injuries on the full-back positions, I could not solve that problem.”
The injury crisis certainly affected United but the responsibility of ensuring that the club has a big enough squad to cope with absences lies with van Gaal and he failed in that respect.
Van Gaal instead blooded a number of youngsters, which has been a boost for supporters, but it was unrealistic to expect them to deliver to a high-quality standard. Hindsight is 20/20, of course, but van Gaal should have added numbers to his squad.