Carlo Ancelotti says Bayern Munich fitness coach Giovanni Mauri is not to blame for Manuel Neuer’s latest foot injury.
The Germany international has been forced to undergo surgery on a fractured left metatarsal and is expected to be out of action until January.
It is the same foot Neuer broke during the Champions League quarter-final second-leg loss to Real Madrid that kept him sidelined for the final few weeks of last season.
President Uli Hoeness is reportedly unhappy with Bayern’s medical staff amid suggestions they declared Neuer ready to return to action too quickly, but Ancelotti insists Mauri is not at fault.
“When Manu began to play again, we thought it was the right time,” the Bayern head coach told a news conference. “It was very unfortunate, of course, because he’s now out for three months.
“The only man who wasn’t involved in the game was Giovanni Mauri. That’s why it’s unfair that he gets criticism. He’s not at all responsible for Manuel’s health.
“In my opinion, Mauri is the best fitness coach in the world.
“I’ve seen him [Neuer] now. The operation went well and we expect him to return in January. At the moment, he needs rest and then we’ll prepare together for the second half of the season.”
Ancelotti confirmed that midfielder Thiago Alcantara will miss Friday’s Bundesliga clash with Wolfsburg, along with Neuer and long-term absentees David Alaba and Juan Bernat.
Arjen Robben, however, “is in good condition and can play again”, the Italian said.
“We have to remain focused and shouldn’t underestimate Wolfsburg. We’ll definitely rotate,” he added.