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Sports News of Thursday, 13 February 2020


How coronavirus affected United's transfer and winter camp

Manchester United have had their share of disruptions as a result of the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus.

The deadly virus has killed more than 1,100 people and over 44,000 cases have been confirmed so far as China and the world battle what look likes the most deadly disease ever recorded, worse than Ebola and SARS viruses.

On the part of Manchester United, they have had two of their plans for the winter break changed due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.

One of the instances was the isolation of new signing, Odion Ighalo, who could not join Manchester United's winter break training in Spain due to fears of the virus as well as the risk of inability to gain entry into the UK based on restrictions.

Ighalo joined United in a Deadline Day move from Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua and was banned from the club's AON Training Complex in Carrington amid fears over spreading the coronavirus. [Sky]

Secondly, Sky Sports News confirmed a report in the Daily Mail claiming the club opted to change the hotel they were due to stay in Marbella after finding out Chinese Super League side Dalian Professional had stayed there earlier this month.

Speaking on United's decision to leave Ighalo behind, reporter, James Cooper, said that the move by the English club was "precautionary".

"I think there's been a lot of hysteria quite naturally surrounding the coronavirus, but what Manchester United have done is precautionary, and certainly from their point of view it far exceeds the government guidelines on treating somebody or working with somebody that's come from China," Cooper told Sky Sports News.

"When Ighalo was signed on Deadline Day he arrived from China but not from the Wuhan province, a lot of people coming from China were done by the same stipulation that they might come from the Wuhan province, and of course he's on a 14-day incubation period.

"Manchester United quite naturally felt it was right and wise for him to train away from Carrington. There are a lot of reasons for that, clearly there's a risk of infection, apparently very minor, and it's an elite training base.

"You wouldn't want that to happen because thereby you'd have another 14-day incubation problem and Manchester United wouldn't be able to play football games.

"There's also the matter, of course, that United are out in Spain at the moment on their winter break training camp with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. What's been happening is Odion Ighalo has been working in Manchester city centre with a personal trainer, in contact of course with the training staff that Solskjaer has with him in Spain.

"They've just been going through that with the expressed intention of getting him fit for the game against Chelsea, which I think he'll be a part of. I don't think he'll be in Solskjaer's starting 11, but I think he might well be on the bench, somebody that Ole could use on Monday evening at Stamford Bridge as substitute.

"There's a fear that he hasn't been integrated in terms of the personnel but I think they have worked on his fitness and this is all precautionary, he's stayed away from the training ground, and once the two-week incubation period is over - which of course coincides with this weekend and the return of Manchester United from Spain - then he'll be able to integrate with the team, go down to London and be part of that first-team squad.

"Manchester United certainly think that they have far exceeded the government on this, but they are working sensibly and practicably in this situation where of course you're looking at a league training centre and you don't want any risk of infection. Odion Ighalo has been doing his fitness work in Manchester on his own and that has been the plan all along."

"We'll hear from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer tomorrow, he's arriving back in Manchester earlier than the rest of the squad to deal with the pre-match media ahead of Chelsea and then the rest of the squad will arrive.

"Odion Ighalo will be integrated into that squad and be on the bench, I would presume, for the game at Stamford Bridge on Monday. But no cause for alarm here, this is just precautionary from Manchester United."

Sky Sports

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