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Manchester United ‘struck by Covid outbreak just HOURS before game against Newcastle’

Man United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer without his THREE assistants Michael Carrick, Mike Phelan and Kieran McKenna for Newcastle clash after his staff were hit by a Covid outbreak… with reserve keeper Lee Grant having to step in as goalkeeping coach

  • A number of Manchester United’s first-team coaches have contracted Covid-19 
  • Nicky Butt and Mark Dempsey will step in for United’s fixture against Newcastle
  • The Premier League tie at Old Trafford will still proceed as planned on Sunday 
  • It has been suggested up to three coaches have been affected by the outbreak

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was without his three main assistants for Sunday’s Premier League clash after a coronavirus outbreak among the club’s coaching staff just hours before the match.

Nicky Butt and Mark Dempsey had to step in to join Solskjaer’s staff on the bench after Michael Carrick, Mike Phelan and Kieran McKenna missed the game.

Coach Darren Fletcher was also absent while United’s reserve keeper Lee Grant had to fill in as goalkeeping coach alongside Nathan Bishop with regular coaches Richard Hartis and Craig Mawson also forced to miss the match.

The Premier League game at Old Trafford will still go ahead as planned despite the disruption

The Premier League game at Old Trafford will still go ahead as planned despite the disruption

UNITED’S BENCH STAFF FOR THE GAME

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Nicky Butt (coach), Mark Dempsey (coach), Steve McNally (doctor), Tom Green (analyst), Lee Grant (goalkeeping coach) and Richard Merron (physio)

Absent: Michael Carrick, Mike Phelan and Kieran McKenna, Darren Fletcher Richard Hartis , Craig Mawson

United confirmed earlier on Sunday that a number of their first-team coaches would miss the match at Old Trafford as they had to go into self-isolation.

A club statement read: ‘Nicky Butt and Mark Dempsey will join Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on the bench this evening due to some of the coaching staff having to isolate.’

Sunday’s match never seemed to be in any doubt of being called off as the outbreak appeared to have solely disrupted the backroom staff at United.

Those involved are said to have tested positive for Covid-19 last week – and were not in attendance for United’s Europa League win against Real Sociedad in midweek.    

Former United player Butt is the club’s head of first-team development at United, acting as the bridge between the youth system and Solskjaer’s squad.  

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He reports directly to the United boss, and is an ex-reserves coach at Old Trafford. 

Dempsey, meanwhile, has been a key member of Solskjaer’s support team at both Molde and Cardiff. 

Nicky Butt will step in as a coach with a number of United's backroom staff testing positive

Nicky Butt will step in as a coach with a number of United’s backroom staff testing positive

Mark Dempsey has previously worked alongside Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Cardiff and Molde

Mark Dempsey has previously worked alongside Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Cardiff and Molde

It is not yet known whether any of the have contracted coronavirus, though. 

The names of the staff members in isolation are likely to not be revealed due to medical confidentiality reasons.

No United players have been affected, meanwhile, meaning the club have, injuries aside, a full squad to choose from. 

It is thought no United players have been affected by the small outbreak of cases at the club

It is thought no United players have been affected by the small outbreak of cases at the club

Despite the disruption before the showdown with Newcastle, Solskjaer has delivered a rallying cry to his stars. United trail Manchester City by 10 points in the title race.  

‘Every game in the Premier League is difficult,’ Solskjaer insisted. ‘You’ve got to earn the right.

‘You’ve got to do it by your quality but first of all the attitude. 

‘Run more than them, want it more than them and we’ve got players who have got the quality, so hopefully we can take the chances.’ 

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