I recently saw a clip of Guardiola sarcastically clapping his medical team during a league game against Leverkusen.
It was reported that the relationship between the club’s doctor and manager has been visibly strained this season. When Benatia went off injured against Bayer Leverkusen in the German Cup recently, a furious Guardiola walked straight over to the chief doctor Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt on the bench and clapped sarcastically in his face.
Bayern fielded a weakened team against Porto in the CL and were beaten 3:1 without the injured Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery, Mehdi Benatia, Bastian Schweinsteiger, David Alaba and Javi Martinez. Even the best teams fail when the injury list is too long.
Müller-Wohlfahrt released this statement “After the Champions League match of Bayern Munich against Porto the medical department was for some inexplicable reason made primarily responsible. The bond of trust has been damaged.”
The following day, the whole medical team resigned claiming that it had been scapegoated for the poor performance.
This got me wondering how many of the repeat injuries that players suffer are down to the poor quality of the medical staff and physios and how much to do with managers wanting players ‘patched up’ to be sent out onto the pitch when not fully recovered? It looks like Guardiola was unhappy that a player had become injured during a game, not that he was throwing a paddy because his best payers were in the treatment room.
What is apparent is that the medical staff and physios play a huge part in team management these days and can make the difference between winning titles and falling short.
We all know that Arsenal has suffered a disproportional number of injuries in recent years and we also know that Arsene has identified this as a problem and brought in new medical personnel and the medical centre at London Colney has been upgraded. At the start of Sundays FA Cup semi final, there was only one squad player missing through injury – The Ox, and he is due back in 2 weeks. I can’t remember the last time we had so many players available.
Could it be that we have at last come to grips with the underlying cause of our injury problems? Well I certainly hope so because with the quality we have in the squad, rotation for the sake of resting players rather than covering for injury will be key to our success next season.