Saha slams fitness claims

United striker explains injury absences

Saha: Fitness claims denied

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Manchester United striker Louis Saha has bit back at suggestions he has pulled out of matches despite being fit to play.

The France international has been plagued by injury problems during his time at Old Trafford following his £12.8million move from Fulham almost four years ago.

Some pundits have suggested that Saha's problems are, at times, more mental than physical, but the Red Devils striker has angrily refuted those claims.

'Never refused'

He told the News of the World: "People who talk like that are badly informed. They hear things said and they speculate. I had six pieces of cartilage in my knee. Was that psychological?

"It has happened that I take part in training in the week, feel good and then declare myself unfit for the weekend.

"But there's an explanation - my knee could hold up for 20 minutes in training but would never have done so with the intensity of a 90-minute match. It would have been ridiculous to play at less than 100 per cent.

"I have never refused to play. Each time I have missed a match, it was because I could not play."

And Saha feels the demands on modern-day footballers are partly to blame for his frequent spells on the sidelines.

Demands

He added: "Bad luck does not explain everything. Repeated matches wear on the body. My game is based on speed, requiring rapid changes of direction and push-offs.

"That demands a lot of the body and it's a vicious circle. I suffered with my left knee and in compensating, the right one went.

"Now I am doing all I can to avoid another set-back - acupuncture, physiotherapy, osteopathy. It is beginning to pay off. What I'd like now is a goal. That would help me."