Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ‘can’t see the benefit’ of two-week Premier League shutdown to stop spike in positive Covid-19 cases with Man United boss concerned about fixture pile-up… as fears grow football will halt again
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is not in favour of a two-week break in the Premier League season amid a spike in the number of positive Covid-19 cases.
The latest round of testing among top-flight players and staff revealed 18 positive tests and came after the postponement of Monday’s Everton vs Manchester City fixture.
It has since emerged that Wednesday night’s game between Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham is in doubt after a number of positive cases at the west London club.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ‘can’t see the benefit’ of pausing the Premier League for two weeks as a ‘circuit breaker’ following a spike in positive Covid-19 cases among players and staff
Solskjaer with his Manchester United players after their 1-0 victory over Wolves on Tuesday
Informal talks about a two-week ‘circuit-breaker’ pause in the Premier League season have been held but Manchester United manager Solskjaer is concerned about the knock-on effects.
‘It’s not something I’ve thought about a lot. I think our players have been really good in following protocols and rules,’ Solskjaer said after United’s 1-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers.
‘That’s part of the job here, that we as clubs follow the protocols given. I can’t see the benefit in having a circuit break, whatever it’s going to be called.
‘Because when are we going to play the games? We all know this year is so difficult, but I don’t think stopping the games is going to make a big, big change.’
Marcus Rashford’s 94th-minute winner beat Wolves at Old Trafford and moved United into second place, two points behind Liverpool, who play at Newcastle United on Wednesday night.
A increase in cases, including an outbreak at Man City, has seen concerns grow around playing
City stars Kyle Walker and Gabriel Jesus have tested positive as well as three unnamed players
A total of 1,479 players and staff at the 20 Premier League clubs were tested for coronavirus between December 21 and 27, with the 18 who returned positive results now self-isolating.
It is the highest number of positive outcomes in the league since Project Restart. The previous highest was when 16 tested positive in November.
As revealed by Sportsmail, the Government has held talks with football authorities amid the increasing number of positive tests as a new strain of the virus sweeps the country.
There have also been a number of positive cases in the Sheffield United camp in recent weeks
Premier League clubs have held informal discussions about a fortnight break but this would place immense strain on an already congested fixture calendar.
Premier League Covid enforcement inspectors have warned clubs to tighten training-ground protocols following a number of reported breaches in recent weeks.
Sheffield United and Fulham reported multiple positive tests, though the Blades’ match against Burnley on Tuesday still went ahead.
West Brom boss Sam Allardyce has called for a two-week ‘circuit breaker’ in English football
The two-week shutdown received the backing of West Bromwich Albion manager Sam Allardyce.
‘Everyone’s safety is more important than anything else,’ he said. ‘When I listen to the news the variant virus transmits quicker than the original virus [so] we can only do the right thing which is have a circuit break.
‘I am 66 years old and the last thing I want to do is catch Covid. I’m very concerned for myself and football in general.
‘If that’s what needs to be done we need to do it. We had one positive this week and it seems to be creeping around no matter how hard we try.’