Antonio Valencia believes Manchester United’s poor form this season “has to be down to the amount of injuries” they have had to deal with.
United are only sixth in the Premier League going into Sunday’s game against Everton at Old Trafford, though a win would see them move above West Ham and back to within a point of Manchester City in the final Champions League spot.
As far as Valencia is concerned, United’s injury problems have to be taken into consideration when assessing their season.
“It has affected the way the manager has had to work,” Valencia told Sky Sports News HQ. “Your hands are tied. If you have a squad of 20 players, and 10 are injured, then you are having to work with half a squad.
“It is not just short term injuries either. You look at Luke Shaw, myself, Wayne Rooney, we have been out for a long period.
“The bad form that we have had in that time has to be down to the amount of injuries that we have had.
“That is bound to affect performances, but now we are getting people back, we need to focus and really fight for the place in the Champions League.
“It is also down to the Premier League, it is tough league. One week you can play very well, and then the next week you are up against a team you are expected to beat, one that is fighting relegation, and they turn it on.”
Valencia has only recently returned from a foot injury that had kept him out since October, making this a particularly frustrating season for the Ecuadorian, but he remains confident United can claim a Champions League place.
“Both mine and the team’s seasons have been disappointing,” Valencia added. “I have been down and sad about being out of action for five months, and a lot has happened in that time.
“Under Sir Alex Ferguson we were used to winning trophies year after year, so it does hurt to see others doing it now, but we have to accept that this profession that we work in is like that, there are ups and downs.
“Every new season is like a new dream, and we will be fighting to do much better for the fans next season.
“We have got to be looking to win every game to make sure we are in the Champions League next season, and I believe we have the players in the squad, and an excellent manager to be able to make that happen.”