Owen Hargreaves has made revelatory claims regarding the medical treatment he received at former club Manchester United after making a dream debut for rivals Manchester City in the Carling Cup on Wednesday.
Mancini had praise for Hargreaves
Hargreaves made the move to Eastlands on a free transfer this summer, having played just a handful of minutes for United in the previous two seasons due to recurring injuries. The midfielder claims a number of specialists have since confirmed United administered the wrong treatment during his recovery from a knee complaint, leaving the England international to feel as though he was "made out of glass".
He told The Guardian: "I've had to be a guinea pig for a lot of these treatments. But when you're left to try to make something of a difficult situation, it's not really an option to say: 'Let's sit it out and rest for six months.'
"I'm not a guy who wants to bitch and complain. I was trying to make the most of it, but it deteriorated over the season and we had to do these injections. My knee, my tendon, was never the same. They said my tendon was good, but it felt like I was made out of glass.
"With hindsight it's a lot easier. And, yes, the injections I had I probably should not have had.
"We treated it and it got significantly worse through the injections. That obviously had a huge impact. Basically, I was left to pick up the pieces, which was incredibly frustrating.
"They said it [the injections] would help and that I wouldn't have any side effects. That obviously wasn't the case and, if I'd known I could have had a reaction like that, I wouldn't have done it. It's my career - I'm in it.
"I'm trying to get all this information. I'm hearing about tendons and, before, I didn't know anything about tendons. I mean, I knew I had one, but I didn't know its real function. It was a s*** position to be in, to be honest."
Hargreaves also claims United manager Sir Alex Ferguson forced him to make a comeback from his original injury before his body was able to withstand the rigours of a full match. The 30-year-old lasted but a few minutes in his long-awaited return against Wolves before being taken off, leaving Hargreaves to wonder if he'd ever play in the Premier League again.
"I started that game with two muscle injuries but I should never have been in that position to begin with. I was just going to try to get through 45 minutes because that would have been a start. But I didn't even last five. I wasn't surprised.
"I'd said to them that I had a hamstring problem, which I obviously did. I said: 'I think I've got a bit of a problem here.' I was surprised it didn't go in the warm-up, to be completely honest.
"People at times must look at it from a distance and say: 'S***, he's made out of glass.' But I don't know many people in the world who could do any sporting event with two muscle tears.
"There were 70,000 people there and, if I had walked away from the game, it would have looked like I didn't want to play. I thought: 'I'll try to play, I just won't sprint.' I know it sounds comical."
Despite the stunning remarks, Hargreaves says he wishes United's next crop of players success as the two Manchester clubs battle it out for glory this season.
"United are one of the biggest clubs in the world with Barcelona and Real Madrid. They have a lot of wonderful people there. I'm sad for myself that I wasn't able to play a bigger part there.
"I really envisaged it going differently but it didn't materialise the way I anticipated. They've moved on now and they've got a wonderful group of players.
"The young guys who are coming through look great. So I'm happy for them as well.
"But this is a new chapter in my life. The guys here [City's medical staff] have been great so far. I've been here three weeks and you can already see the difference. I knew it was all there. It was just a matter of doing things right," said Hargreaves.