MANCHESTER, England — Manchester United have scrapped plans for a training camp in the Middle East because of fears over player safety.
United have a break between Wolves’ visit to Old Trafford on Feb. 1 and the trip to Chelsea on Feb. 17 and the club had looked into the prospect of organising a warm weather camp in either Qatar or Dubai during the layoff.
But tensions caused by the brewing conflict between the United States and Iran have prompted United into a rethink.
“We were looking at Middle East but that is definitely not going to happen,” manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told a news conference on Tuesday.
“If there is one thing that worries me it’s not on the football pitch, there are other things that will worry me more than football.”
As well as a training camp, the squad are also set to be given time off to spend with their families but Solskjaer hinted the players have been warned to avoid destinations where they might be in jeopardy.
United trained at the Nad Al Sheba Sports complex in Dubai in January 2019 and a group of players visited the UAE during a break in games in November.
“I am going to give them a few days off,” said Solskjaer. “I don’t know where they will all scatter around but we will stay in Europe.”
United’s FA Cup third-round replay with Wolves will be their 34th game of the season and their fifth of eight fixtures in January alone.
Solskjaer is desperate to give his young squad some time off having accepted since the summer he is working with a slimmed-down group. Injury problems have not helped the situation with Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba currently sidelined.
United are due to face the winner if they beat Wolves on Wednesday but the potential fourth-round tie could be pushed back into the winter break if the replay between Tranmere and Watford has to be rescheduled for the weekend of Jan. 25-26 when the fourth-round ties are due to be played.
“This mid-season break will be very important for everyone,” said Solskjaer.
“We have five or six games until then and we are just going to stick at it and hang in there until then and and get some Vitamin D and get ready for the last three months.”