Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

John Hopes Injury Nightmare Is Over

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

John Hopes Injury Nightmare Is Over

Article excerpt

JOHN O'Shea is hoping to steer clear of an injury nightmare next season as Manchester United attempt to regain their Barclays Premier League title from Chelsea.

O'Shea reflected on a dark December which saw the club - who kick off their Premier League season with a home game against Newcastle United - lose two of their six league games that month.

The Red Devils went down 1-0 at home to Aston Villa and then suffered a humbling 3-0 defeat to Fulham at Craven Cottage. Those setbacks came during a spell which saw manager Sir Alex Ferguson suffer major disruption as he was without seven defenders through injury.

O'Shea had a thigh problem while Rio Ferdinand, Gary Neville, Jonny Evans, Rafael, Wes Brown and Fabio also had a spell on the sidelines.

In addition Nemanja Vidic was laid up with flu and goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar needed treatment as well.

So strapped were Manchester United in that area that Ryan Giggs and Wallsendborn Michael Carrick found themselves playing out of position.

O'Shea said: "Injuries were a key factor last season and we hope to avoid them this time around. I can never remember so many defenders being injured.

"But we still got so close to retaining the title - only a few lapses of concentration let us down in the end. Now we are all hungry to succeed again."

The players have been training twice a day in difficult conditions with temperatures rising above 30 degrees Celsius. Not that O'Shea is complaining, however. "It is hard but not as hard as it was in years gone by, mind you," said the Republic of Ireland international. "It is more personalised now, which is down to the sports science staff. A good pre-season is so important."

The squad were due to train at Philadelphia Union's soccer-specific stadium last night ahead of the friendly with the new MLS side today at Lincoln Financial Field, which has a far great capacity.

Ferguson said: "The training facilities are excellent in the United States, certainly in Philadelphia. …

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