The Manchester United injury crisis hit rock bottom when for several games we were forced to play with Darren Fletcher and Michael Carrick as our central defensive pairing. The extent of our injuries was ridiculous.

We were just 8 games away from the end of the season before our first choice back five played and that only occurred in a total of 6 out of the 38 games. Petr Cech played 1/3 more games than Edwin Van der Sar, Chelsea’s first choice defensive partnership played in 77% of all their league games, whilst United’s played ust 49%.

Fletcher has today reiterated what damage the injuries did last season and questions where Chelsea would have finished if two of their players were taken from midfield to play in defence.

“I’d have liked to have seen Chelsea cope with Lampard and Ballack at the back,” Fletcher said with a smile. “We’ve still got star quality and we’d have won the league last year if it wasn’t for that injury crisis. But it’s not necessarily about your star players. You need different components to make a team. You need everyone pulling in the same direction and we have that. It’s important, for instance, that if Wayne Rooney isn’t scoring, we’ve got other players who can step up. We’d love for Wayne to score 34 goals again, and he’s definitely capable of it, but we can’t expect it.”