Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has hailed the opening of United's new £25m medical centre as "perhaps the most important step forward this club has taken in a long, long time."

The state-of-the-art facility is set to open on November 5 at United's training base in Carrington, and Ferguson hopes it will help to manage the club's poor injury record.

The Old Trafford side have struggled with a defensive injury crisis this season, as captain Nemanja Vidic, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Jonny Evans have all spent time on the sidelines.

And last season United had the dubious honour of being the Premier League's most injury-prone team, with 39 significant injury complaints across the campaign. A significant problem is defined as those complaints lasting for at least two weeks.

To make matters worse for United, title rivals Manchester City had the league's best record - just seven injuries lasting two weeks or more across the season.

In total, Ferguson's side lost 1,681 days to injury, while Manchester City - who eventually pipped United to the title on the final day - lost just 186 days in comparison.

To prevent a repeat, Manchester United announced a partnership with Toshiba. And the Japanese company will prove the equipment for the facility, allowing the club to accelerate player's recovery times, and to identify potential injuries, or possible problems, up to six months before they occur.

Building work began on the centre six months ago, and United hope it will completed within the next 14 days, giving them a competitive advantage over rivals for years to come.

In the Daily Mirror, Ferguson said: "This is a great partnership because it is something new, something different.

"We made a couple of signings in the summer but this is a big signing, perhaps the most important step forward this club has taken in a long, long time.

"Sometimes supporters won't see that, the public won't see that, but we'll see it and the players will really appreciate it."

The medical facility is billed as the first of its kind in England, although Manchester City announced plans for a similar centre in their new Etihad Campus.

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