EPL

All available Man Utd players back in training on Thursday

By Sports Desk December 22, 2021

Manchester United will have all their available players back in training on Thursday after the club's facilities were shut due to a COVID-19 outbreak. 

A series of positive coronavirus cases forced United to halt first-team operations at their Carrington training ground last week and saw their Premier League games against Brentford and Brighton and Hove Albion postponed. 

Players returned to training on a staggered basis following Monday's announcement that the festive Premier League fixtures would be going ahead as planned, which came after six games were called off last weekend. 

Thursday will see the outstanding members of the team report for duty again, with United building up to their return to action against Newcastle United on Monday. 

"The lads have been training and today [Wednesday] we brought all the rest of the lads back to training, there are only a couple left that will be coming in tomorrow," Rashford told United Daily. 

"So, we've pretty much got the full squad back, which is a positive going into the week." 

Ralf Rangnick oversaw successive 1-0 wins after taking charge and against Newcastle could become the first United manager to keep a clean sheet in each of their first three league games. 

Recent history is on the Red Devils' side, with United having won their past four Premier League meetings with Newcastle – their best run since coming out on top in five straight encounters from 2004 until 2006. 

"Everyone is looking forward and everyone is very positive at the minute," said Rashford, who has been involved in seven goals (four scored, three assisted) in as many top-flight matches against the Magpies. 

"We were all disappointed when the last game got cancelled but, at the end of the day, there’s nothing you can really do about it. We have to just focus on the next game that will be played and hopefully that game goes ahead." 

United take on Burnley at home three days after their trip to St James' Park, with Wolves visiting Old Trafford the following Monday. 

Rashford said: "I definitely enjoy this time of year. I think the way you start the season and the way you play, and the results you get around the Christmas period, are probably the two most important points [in the season]. 

"So, if we have a good Christmas period now, then we can keep that momentum going and that will take you into the big games where the trophies are come the end of the season." 

Related items

  • Valverde set for Athletic Bilbao return after Uriarte wins presidential election Valverde set for Athletic Bilbao return after Uriarte wins presidential election

    Ernesto Valverde, not Marcelo Bielsa, is set to become Athletic Bilbao's next coach after Jon Uriarte won the club's presidential election on Friday.

    Valverde has coached Athletic on two previous occasions, from 2003 to 2005 and 2013 to 2017. No coach has overseen more games for the club than his tally of 306.

    He enjoyed success with Athletic during his second spell, leading the team to Europe in each campaign and winning the Supercopa de Espana in 2015-16, beating Barcelona 5-1.

    In 2017, Valverde was appointed Barca coach. He won LaLiga in his two full seasons at Camp Nou, and a Copa del Rey title in 2018, but failure in the Champions League placed him on thin ice and he was dismissed in late 2019.

    The 58-year-old has since been out of work but earlier this week, Athletic presidential candidate Uriarte stated that Valverde would become the club's new coach should he win the election.

    Another candidate, Ricardo Barkala, had also backed Valverde to be the coach, while Inaki Arechabaleta had chosen Marcelo Bielsa – another former Athletic coach who is fondly remembered in the Basque country.

    Yet Bielsa will not be returning to San Mames just yet, and instead it is Valverde who is set to be appointed following Uriarte's victory.

    Uriarte, the youngest of the three candidates at 43, is a former banker who co-founded ticket portal Ticketbis, which was sold to eBay in 2016. He won the election with 46.71 per cent of the vote.

    Arechabaleta was second with a 33.72 per cent share, with Barkala coming in third (18.13 per cent).

  • England 'really have to improve' despite thrashing Netherlands, warns Wiegman England 'really have to improve' despite thrashing Netherlands, warns Wiegman

    Sarina Wiegman is "absolutely happy" with England's progress ahead of the Women's Euro 2022, but she did not see a stunning 5-1 defeat of the Netherlands as cause to get carried away.

    England have never lost back-to-back matches against the Oranje, yet their previous meeting had been a crushing 3-0 reverse in the Euro 2017 semi-finals.

    Wiegman was in the Netherlands dugout on that occasion, guiding her country to a home tournament success.

    That is now her aim with the Lionesses, and Friday's victory at Elland Road surely laid down a marker, with Beth Mead scoring twice – either side of goals from Ella Toone and Lauren Hemp – after Lucy Bronze had cancelled out Lieke Martens' opener.

    England are yet to lose in their 13 games under Wiegman, scoring 80 times across those matches, but the manager still saw room for improvement.

    "Maybe," Wiegman told ITV Sport when asked if she had to temper expectations. "For us, it's just that when we lose, we go with our plan; when we win, we go with our plan.

    "We had a good win, but we cannot think we are there. Today showed that we have still lots of things to do.

    "Things went really well, but lots of things didn't go well, and we really have to improve that, too. We'll start working on that again on Monday."

    That is not to say Wiegman was unhappy with what she saw, adding: "I'm absolutely happy. It was such a high-level game.

    "Of course the score says a lot: 5-1. That's really good, the game in the second half was really good, so there are very exciting things to see.

    "Yes, we're in a good place, but still we have some things to improve."

    The slow start was undoubtedly one area that could have concerned Wiegman, although she was enthused by England's response to only the third goal they have conceded in her tenure – this the first time they have trailed.

    "It's very nice to score five goals, but for us it actually was good that we got behind for the first time and how we reacted to that," she said.

    "We needed to come back from not playing well, conceding a goal, and get the game to a higher standard. That was good."

  • Tsitsipas reaches first grass-court final, Fritz and Cressy set up all-American Eastbourne showdown Tsitsipas reaches first grass-court final, Fritz and Cressy set up all-American Eastbourne showdown

    Roberto Bautista Agut stands in the way of Stefanos Tsitsipas and his first grass-court title.

    Making his debut at the Mallorca Championships, Tsitsipas sealed his maiden appearance in a grass-court final by cruising past Benjamin Bonzi 6-4 6-4 on Friday.

    The world number six has now reached four finals this season, having lost two of the previous three – winning on clay at the Monte Carlo Masters.

    It was the second meeting between the pair in as many weeks, with the Greek having also downed Bonzi at the Halle Open.

    And Tsitsipas now has a chance to warm up for Wimbledon in winning fashion.

    "It was a good match. I am very happy today," Tsitsipas said in his on-court interview. "I have played a final a week before a grand slam before. It was the year I made the final at Roland Garros, in Lyon.

    "It worked out pretty well to have that final and consistency of matches. It is different this time. We are talking about a different surface, so we will see."

    Tsitsipas has now claimed a tour-leading 39 wins this season, but standing between the 23-year-old and silverware is Spaniard Bautista Agut, who reached a 20th career final by beating Antoine Bellier 7-6 (7-5) 6-2.

    Like Tsitsipas, Bautista Agut is aiming for a second title of the season.

    At the Eastbourne International, two Americans will vie for the title after Indian Wells Masters champion Taylor Fritz saw off a tough challenge from Alex de Minaur while Maxime Cressy defeated home favourite Jack Draper 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (2-7) 6-3.

    Fritz, who triumphed at Eastbourne in 2019 – similarly against an American, in Sam Querrey – but has found his best form hard to come by of late, also needed three sets to get the better of De Minaur, eventually succeeding 6-1 6-7 (5-7) 6-3.

    "It's amazing," Fritz said. "I was having a bit of a rough start coming back from injury to the grass season, and then I came here and the first day I was here I just immediately felt like I was playing good tennis again.

    "I just have a lot of confidence being here, obviously great memories, so I'm really excited to come back out and play for the title again."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.