Manchester United is almost back to full strength after the COVID-19 outbreak


Manchester United manager Ralf Rangnick has almost a full roster to choose from for Monday’s Premier League game in Newcastle after the club postponed their last two games due to a COVID-19 outbreak.

Only the injured Paul Pogba is not available to the interim manager for the Red Devils’ first game in 16 days.

United’s games against Brentford and Brighton were among the 12 Premier League games canceled in the past two weeks due to a wave of coronavirus infections as Britain struggles with record numbers.

“In the last training session we had eight field players and three goalkeepers and then we closed the training area to break the chain,” said Rangnick on Thursday.

“Today was the third day of training this week and we had 25 field players. Paul Pogba is still the only one missing, everyone (others) was on board. “

Rangnick added that the vast majority of those who had COVID-19 had few or no symptoms, which enabled them to stay in shape while exercising from home.

“The development over the last week has been extremely positive,” he added. “As far as I could see in training, they are all in good shape.

“They did their homework. They all have their schedules to exercise at home.

“They stick to that schedule and program, and from what I’ve seen in training, most – if not all – of them might be available.”

The congestion of the game caused by a series of postponements has re-raised concerns for player welfare.

Rangnick supported the demands of Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp and Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola for the reintroduction of five substitutions to ease the burden.

The Premier League was one of the few top European leagues to return to three changes after five substitutes were admitted to the end of the 2019-20 season when play resumed after a three-month hiatus caused by the pandemic.

“I think it was the right decision to have more player switch options to save energy for the players, especially when they have just recovered from COVID,” said Rangnick.

“The same is true at the moment. We are in a similar situation to 1½ years ago, so I see no reason why it shouldn’t be like this now.

“As far as I know, England is the only country in Europe that only allows three submarines. You can replace five players in the other four major leagues in Europe. “

He also suggested dropping the league cup to create extra space on the calendar.

Klopp and Tottenham coach Antonio Conte have requested to change their league cup semi-finals against Arsenal and Chelsea from two-legged to single games.

“England is the only top division that has two cup competitions. In France they got rid of the second, ”said Rangnick. “We’re the only country that has two cup competitions, we could talk and discuss about that.”

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