Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed that some of United’s international players will be flown home on private planes after the forthcoming break in the club calendar.
The United boss believes that his role in managing the freshness and sharpness of his squad is crucial at the most decisive point in the season, and having his players at United’s Carrington training headquarters at the earliest opportunity is an imperative task he has handed to his assistant Mike Phelan.
“Freshness is the name of the game now as we come towards the end of the season and the intensity of vital games coming in quick succession,” the boss said in his United Review programme notes for Reading’s visit to Old Trafford.
“In fact we’re making arrangements for some players to fly home by privately hired jet after their matches to make sure they get home as quickly and smoothly as possible. Mike Phelan is working on this because we have a full team away on international duty over the next fortnight and they will be coming back to play at Sunderland, who will have perhaps just three or four people away, with the remainder making the most of a break.
“Tiredness is a great leveller,” he adds. “But we’ll do our utmost to make sure we field the freshest possible teams. Private planes are going to cost the club an awful lot of money, but it is something we feel we have to do. It’s a real problem when the players come back at the end of the international break after playing two games involving long flights, particularly Chicharito in Mexico and Shinji Kagawa in Japan.
“The players who will miss the international trips, like Giggs, Anderson, Vidic, Büttner and Rafa will be key players in the run-in. I am also delighted to say that Paul Scholes is back in training, and he will play a part in keeping us fresh.”
Mental and physical fatigue can be hugely taxing, as United discovered when the unjust manner of the Champions League exit against Real Madrid led subsequently to a sluggish second-half in the FA Cup quarter-final clash with Chelsea. Sir Alex was delighted his side survived a late onslaught to stay