In my article a couple of days ago, I exposed the startling contrast in lost days through injury between Manchester United and Manchester City. City lost 186 days last season whereas United lost 1686! That alone makes damaging reading, but it has continued into this season and is in danger of derailing Uniteds title challenge before it has even begun!
Ferguson took exception last season to suggestions that his medical staff were not up to the job. An accusation made by Owen Hargreaves after he was released and went to City. It was passed off as sour grapes, but if you read his full transcript, there were some elements of truth to his comments.
Regardless of Hargreaves comments, it can be no coincidence that United are seemingly in a constant injury crisis. Last night it came back to bite them. United had to field two midfielders at the back, and it cost them dearly. Everton manager, David Moyes, had already inflicted damage on Ferguson at the end of last season when his tactics blew Uniteds title challenge out of the water, drawing 4-4 after being 4-2 down at Old Trafford.
Moyes use of the long balls directed at six foot four inch Fellaini, caused havoc in the United defence and last night was simply a repeat performance. You would expect that Ferguson and his staff, having had some months to prepare for this first fixture, would have some tactics ready. However, it just seemed a complete mismatch. How on earth can you pick three midfielders, all five foot eight inches tall against giants opposing them and expect to get anything from the match?
These are school football tactics, yet United were left completely exposed. Had it not been for a man-of-the-match performance from David De Gea in goal, it could, and should, have been much worse, yet Ferguson seemed to think it was the poor performance of the strikers that was at fault? He must be the only person in the world with that opinion!
Unless United can sort out why they are having so many injuries whilst the rest of the Premier League seem not to have the same problem, they will falter this season again. There can be no excuses. They have bought good players. Kagawa was a stand out player last night, but why was Van Persie, at six foot two inches, left on the bench whilst the strikers, two of whom are under six feet tall, were on form the start?
It seems that no lessons were learnt from last seasons debacle in the Champions League, where the tactics and team selection were farcical. Ferguson and his two nodding dog assistants need to get a reality check and start to make some changes in the training, medical staff and the facilities or risk another season of failure.