Manchester United’s preparations for their clash with Newcastle have been thrown into disarray due to a coronavirus outbreak among the club’s coaching staff.
The Premier League fixture will still go ahead as planned on Sunday evening, the club have confirmed, however.
The outbreak appears to have solely disrupted the backroom staff at United, with Nicky Butt and Mark Dempsey stepping in alongside Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
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.”
The Mirror claimed that up to three first-team coaches have been affected.
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.
He reports directly to the United boss, and is an ex-reserves coach at Old Trafford.
The statement from United points towards Mike Phelan, Michael Carrick, Kieran McKenna and Darren Fletcher potentially being absent from the bench.
It is not known whether any of them 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 player has been affected, meanwhile, meaning the club have, injuries aside, a full squad to choose from.
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.”