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Erik ten Hag defends Man United training methods after criticism for injury crisis



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Erik ten Hag has defended the training methods at Manchester United amid the injury crisis suffered at Old Trafford this season.

The United boss has emphasised the critical importance of fitness in the demanding landscape of modern football.

Contrary to speculation, Ten Hag clarified that his team’s training regimen is not excessively strenuous but rather tailored to meet the rigorous standards of top-flight football. He has stressed the need for robust players who can consistently match the intensity required in every game.

“No, we don’t train too hard,” Ten Hag stated in his pre-Chelsea press conference following Lisandro Martínez’s latest setback. “We need to be fit. With the standards in this league, you need to be fit. Otherwise you can’t match the standards you are required in a game. We don’t train too hard.”

The Dutchman also insisted it is not an issue that he has not added his own fitness coach to United’s backroom staff. “No. We have good departments, we have good people around with a lot of knowledge. Based on data, we make our decisions.”

There have been over 50 different cases of injury or illness at Old Trafford this term, and whilst training methods have been questioned – there are likely to be several different reasons for the injury crisis at the club this season.

One of those could be the strenuous fixture list United have experienced since the manager took charge at the beginning of the 2022/23 campaign. They played 62 games last term and could play 52 this season if they reach the FA Cup final.

“I know that it still has an effect, the huge amount of games we had in the last 18 months,” Ten Hag added. “That still has an impact on our squad, the accumulation on the players.

“You need very robust players. That is the requirement. When you go into Christmas with many injuries and then you have to bring them back. But when they are free from injury, they are not match fit.

“They are not straight back into the form, that also needs a couple of games before you get back into the rhythm. It still has an impact.

“Anywhere, the players, the people get overloaded and they can’t bring the performances anymore. We are already over the point where we demand what we want from our top players.

“You see this weekend, City is playing without [Kyle] Walker, without [John] Stones. You see the levels were dropping without them. There was a different team to what we faced. The levels for teams will keep dropping if you keep going in this process we are in overloading the international competition.

“You can’t 100 per cent avoid this (injuries), it is impossible. You depend on certain facts. Also we have national teams five times a year you give the players away and you don’t have any impact.

“Some national teams we have very good connections and we manage the programmes, but there are also others that do what they want. You don’t have anything in hand on what they are doing there.

“I think we have more players who are very robust like Bruno [Fernandes] is. But yeah, that is the type of player you need, yeah.”