Manchester United will MISS the first weekend of the new Premier League season and start the campaign on matchday two after their Europa League exploits
Manchester United won’t play in the opening week of the Premier League season after it was agreed to postpone their first game.
The 2020-21 campaign will kick off on September 12 – just seven weeks after the old Premier League season finished – with the fixtures set to be released on Thursday morning.
United are allowed to begin later because they were involved in the latter stages of the Europa League, which ended with a semi-final defeat by Sevilla in Cologne last Sunday.
Manchester United will start their 2020-21 Premier League season on matchday two
United reached the semi-final of the Europa League before being defeated by Sevilla
The mandatory 30-day break meant that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side could still have squeezed in a game in the opening week of the new season on Thursday, September 17.
But the club preferred to postpone the game until later in the season and kick off on matchday two instead, and it’s understood the Premier League have agreed to the switch.
United are already exempt from the second round of the Carabao Cup that midweek because they are one of the English teams involved in Europe next season who will enter in the third round.
The majority of United’s squad are enjoying a two-week holiday after flying back from Germany on Monday before returning for a brief pre-season training camp at the end of the month.
Some of them will be required by their national teams before the new season begins, although United are hopeful that international coaches will be sympathetic with the demands they put on players whose season lasted more than a year and 61 games.
Dean Henderson was one of the first players back into Carrington on Wednesday after returning from his second loan spell at Sheffield United.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is expected to oversee a brief pre-season camp at the end of the month
The 23-year-old is expected to be called up to the England squad to face Iceland and Denmark in the Nations League early next month as he pushes to be first-choice at the European Championships next summer.
Luke Shaw, Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe, who all missed the end of the season due to injury, were also at United’s training base.
Shaw was absent for the last seven games after suffering an ankle injury against his old club Southampton. Jones, whose knee injury has not responded to a series of injections, has not played since January and Tuanzebe since December.
United will look to arrange some behind-closed-doors games to prepare for the new season, as they did against West Brom and Stoke before the restart in June – although the Stoke game at Carrington was scrapped after Potters boss Michael O’Neill tested positive for coronavirus.
However, there will be no prestige friendlies in Europe this year due to the risks involved with travelling and the fact that fans won’t be able to attend anyway.