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Other SportsBardsley says injuries a factor in Manchester United's woes

Bardsley says injuries a factor in Manchester United’s woes

Former Manchester United defender Phil Bardsley feels last night’s European exit highlights the fact the club has lost its way this season – but he says injuries have played a large part in that.

United finished bottom of Champions League Group A – failing to even reach the Europa League – after a 1-0 defeat at home to Bayern Munich.

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Erik ten Hag’s men have lost 12 of 24 games this season in all competitions, as many as they did in 62 matches last year, but Bardsley highlighted an injury list that increased against Bayern with Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw both having to go off.

He told Sky Sports News: “Last year we finished in the top four and won a trophy so we were definitely going in the right direction.

“This year we have gone away from that. I don’t want to keep on about injuries but I do feel for him [Ten Hag]. I don’t think this season he’s had his full squad to choose from, there has always been issues in key areas in key moments of the season.”

Bardsley admitted, however, that some of the players signed under Ten Hag need to contribute more.

“Some of the players have not hit the heights,” he added. “Antony is one dimensional, we’re not seeing much of [Mason] Mount due to injury and [Rasmus] Hojlund, for all his endeavour and a lack of service that doesn’t help him…we need these players to start clicking into gear.

“They have been brought in for a reason and the expectation is to come in and hit the ground running.”

United finished bottom of their Champions League group for just the second time, and Bardsley, who played for United between 2003 and 2008, albeit spending much of it on loan elsewhere, was disappointed by their efforts.

“When the draw was made, you’d fancy your chances of qualifying,” he said of a group that also contained FC Copenhagen and Galatasaray.

“You can’t make mistakes at this level and we made far too many over too many games and we’ve been punished. I don’t think we were too bad last night, we huffed and puffed but I can only count one shot we had from our left-back in a game we needed to win.

“It was an honest performance. There wasn’t a lack of effort but there was certainly a lack of quality.”

It doesn’t get any easier for United, who visit Anfield to take on arch-rivals Liverpool on Sunday.

“You’re playing against an outstanding side that have come into real good form, and have some outstanding footballers,” said Bardsley.

“They are top of the league. Them, City and Arsenal are the outstanding teams in the league and that’s what you aspire to be. You want United to be in the mix.

“We know how good Liverpool are and we will have to be at our very best.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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