Expert lambasts 'dinosaurs' amid 'incredible' Crystal Palace reveal
Crystal Palace had an “incredible” injury record in 2021-22 because Patrick Vieira trusted his expert backroom staff – unlike some of the other “dinosaurs” in football.
That is the view of injury expert Ben Dinnery, who runs the Premier Injuries site and has a background in medicine and data analysis.
Palace finished 12th in Vieira’s first season in charge after wholesale changes were made to an ageing squad last summer.
Head of sport science Michael Eglon and head physio James Haycock also joined under Vieira, while Jamie Goldsmith was promoted to head of strength and conditioning.
Stastitics Dinnery shared with Football Insider showed that Palace had the fewest injuries and the least days lost to injury of any Premier League team over the course of the campaign.
And the world-renowned medical guru insists that this is thanks to Vieira’s willingness to delegate to his expert team.
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“The numbers make for a good headline,” he told Football Insider’s Adam Williams.
“We aren’t comparing like-for-like numbers here. It’s very nuanced. Some teams play 60 games per season and some play 40, for example.
“But if we look at Palace last season, they were one of the worst in terms of injury frequency and in terms of time lost. This season it’s almost unrecognisable. It’s night and day. Incredible.
“Luck plays a part. But ultimately there’s a lot of hard work on the sidelines to get players ready for upcoming fixtures.
“We have seen a big clear out in the Palace squad. A lot of the older players left. Now, there is a younger, more robust squad. They can physically cope with the load of playing matches and training.
“The players, sports science team and medical team all need to be commended. However, there is one person who makes the decisions and that’s Patrick Vieira. The buck stops with him.
“If you ignore the data and the evidence, it doesn’t matter. If he can put trust in his team to manage his players, it works so much better collectively.
“You have to give him credit for buying into it. We have seen dinosaurs ignore the advice completely, and then the medical department are the ones who take the flack.”