Manchester United not only returned from Moldova with three points but also with food poisoning, according to reports.
On their first trip to the Eastern European country, United won 2-0 against FC Sheriff in the Europa League on Thursday night. Erik ten Hag’s side bounced back from their opening round defeat against Real Sociedad with goals in the first half from Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo.
United put on professional performance, demonstrating that they are gelling under their new manager. However, the trip was not without incident, with The Sun reporting that 12 of the traveling party became ill upon their return on Friday morning.
United returned straight away from Chisinau on a private jet after the game, yet still picked up an unknown illness, which it is believed could have come from something they ate, or from the plane itself. A few players missed the scheduled recovery training session on Friday at Carrington, while some were still too unwell to turn up the following day.
Thankfully for Ten Hag, he did not have to prepare quickly for the home match against Leeds United, which was originally scheduled to take place on Sunday. The game was postponed due to a lack of available police ahead of the Queen’s state funeral on Monday at Westminster Abbey.
The illness is not believed to have prevented any of United’s players from meeting up with their respective national teams for the international break. Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw are in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the upcoming friendlies against Italy and Germany – but Marcus Rashford and Sancho did not get the call.
Ten Hag is planning to use the two-week break to continue his work on the training pitch. “It’s very useful. We have many meetings, we have to improve the structures in and around the club,” he said after the Sheriff win.
“By making plans, we will also look to the window in January or next summer to improve our way of playing.” Of course, these periods occur after a game, but we must be prepared for them, and many players, let’s say 90%, are away. But for the others, we will train properly, and for the rest, we must prepare thoroughly. I’m hoping that everyone stays fit and healthy until we can launch an attack.”
After the break, United will face a stern test when they travel across town to face rivals Manchester City in the derby on October 2. They will then return to the road, flying to Cyprus on October 6 to face Omonia in the Europa League.