Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirms club will back any call to cut short season due to safety over coronavirus

Posted Thursday, March 12, 2020 by

Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirms club will back any call to cut short season due to safety over coronavirus
Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says safety over the coronavirus must come first, even if it means not finishing competitions Credit: PA:Press Association

MANCHESTER UNITED will back any plans to cancel the rest of the season because of coronavirus.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side face LASK behind closed doors in the Europa League last 16 tonight, under orders from the Austrian government.

Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirms club will back any call to cut short season due to safety over coronavirus

Boss Solskjaer admitted: “I would understand if this competition or the Premier League wasn’t played out, under the circumstances.

“Football is for the fans and the game should always be for them. But the main concern must always be the health of the public and whatever decision is made, we’ll back.

“We are playing this game behind closed doors but we might get a different message about the tournament next week.

“We just have to do what we are told and if the authorities think we should go and get on with it, then we do our job.

“The players are focused and concentrating on the job but these are difficult circumstances, not just for football but the whole of society.”

United’s England striker Marcus Rashford, who is out with a back injury, tweeted: “The safety and well-being of our fans has to come first. Without you, we’re nothing.”

Tonight’s game in an empty stadium will cost LASK almost £1million, with the return leg at Old Trafford in a week.

Solskjaer is waiting to see how the British Government, the FA and Premier League deal with the pandemic.

He added: “I’m not aware of any decision about next week’s game.

“We will take every precaution but we have to wait on the authorities.”

Asked if his players had been tested for the virus, he admitted: “We have not had any tests, no. We have had no reason so far, from my understanding.”

Solskjaer’s comments came as world players’ union, Fifpro, called for competitions to be halted.

Their statement said: “We ask that employers and competition organisers respect the wishes of players to take short-term precautionary measures, including suspending training or competitions.

“We support players and their associations who have requested a suspension or postponement of football activities.”

More European games were called off yesterday by under-fire Uefa chiefs.

In the Europa League last-16, Spanish side Getafe refused to fly to the virus hotspot of Milan for tonight’s scheduled game with Inter.

And Roma were forced to ask for a postponement of their match against Sevilla because all direct flights between Italy and Spain are cancelled.

Rangers’ Ibrox clash with Bayer Leverkusen is going ahead tonight.

German legend Rudi Voller, now Leverkusen’s sporting director, said: “We need to know what will happen for the next Uefa knockout games — and the Euros.”

A Uefa spokesperson said: “Euro 2020 will kick off on June 12 in Rome. There is no need to change the planned timetable.”

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