Manchester United have put the club’s Europa League campaign at risk by allowing their stars to go on holiday abroad this week.
Nemanja Matic, Victor Lindelof and Odion Ighalo are among the players who jetted off at the end of the Premier League season last Sunday — ahead of United’s return to European action.
The UK re-imposed 14-day quarantine restrictions on all travellers from Spain last week — catching thousands of British tourists by surprise — and Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned that the travel corridor could be closed on other European countries at short notice amid fears over a second wave of the coronavirus.
United are 5-0 up against LASK Linz and look certain to progress in next week’s Europa League last-16 second leg at Old Trafford, but the quarter-final is on August 10, which means any players forced to self-isolate for 14 days would be unavailable for that game as well.
United’s squad are due to report back at the end of the week, although it was unclear on Wednesday night how many more of them have travelled abroad.
United insist no players have gone to countries on the UK’s red list, having checked with the club beforehand and amended their plans accordingly. United also say they will continue to monitor the situation and contact the players if it changes.
At best, however, it would seem to be a needless risk at a time when the Government is warning of wider travel restrictions to contain another Covid-19 outbreak and the holiday season teeters on the brink of collapse.
Lindelof’s wife Maja posted pictures of their family in France, one of the countries most in danger of joining Spain on the red list. Matic’s partner Aleksandra Pavic shared photos of them on board a private jet, while Ighalo was photographed on a yacht abroad.
The Nigeria striker had to quarantine for two weeks when joining United on loan from Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua in February.