Eddie Howe thinks that injuries have cost Sheffield United so far this season.
The Blades have been without Jack O’Connell since the second game week and the defender is likely to miss the rest of the campaign after having knee surgery.
Lys Mousset came off the bench at West Bromwich Albion at the weekend for his first appearance of 2020/21 following a “rare” toe injury.
John Fleck and Enda Stevens have also been absent for significant chunks already this term.
All four were key to United’s success in 2019/20, as they finished ninth in their first Premier League season in 12 years.
As was Dean Henderson, who has since returned to Manchester United after two impressive years on loan at Bramall Lane.
Former Bournemouth manager Howe thinks this was bound to affect them.
“I do believe the injuries (have had an impact),” the 43-year-old told Matchday Live on Optus Sport.
“Henderson not being there, Enda Stevens not playing, Lys Mousset being injured, Jack O’Connell, (John) Lundstram not being in the team.
“This is such a well-balanced team last year that has been totally changed. They’re having to adjust to that,”
Does Eddie Howe think Chris Wilder should alter his tactics?
Since Wilder switched to a back three in the early part of the 2016/17 campaign, it has been hugely successful.
The Blades have been promoted twice and secured their highest league position since 1992 since then.
Yet for the first time since Wilder took charge four-and-a-half years ago, the United boss is experiencing something of a crisis.
His team have made the worst start in history to a Premier League season. They are currently bottom of the table with one point having lost nine of their 10 league matches this term.
Yet Howe doesn’t think Wilder should deviate from the tactics that have brought him so much success.
“In my opinion, no (he should not move away from the back three) because the back three is what has got them to this position,” he continued.
“It has got them success. It gave teams a real tactical problem at the start of last season. People didn’t know how to deal with their overlapping centre-backs and I still feel it was a massive strength in their armoury.”