Juan Mata taking a corner at Old Trafford.

Wednesday Briefing: Our charge towards Christmas

We have all missed watching Manchester United during the international break and thankfully the Reds are back on Saturday night, ready to embark on our busiest festive fixture list in years.

Astonishingly, due to a delayed start to the season, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men have 12 matches to play in the Premier League, Champions League and Carabao Cup before the end of 2020.

That means United are roughly in action every four days and the squad will be tested to the limits, starting this weekend with the visit of West Bromwich Albion to the Theatre of Dreams.

While this hectic schedule poses an obvious challenge to the manager and his coaches, both in terms of the players’ fitness and potential burnout, everybody is looking forward to the challenges ahead.
Juan Mata is one of the players who has been based at the Aon Training Complex during the international break, which concludes this evening with five matches for our Reds on duty.

The Spanish forward has used the opportunity to recharge his batteries ahead of a vital period in the season and he can’t wait to get going again, starting with the Baggies at Old Trafford on Saturday.

“It has been quiet, as always, as so many players go to their national teams, but it has been a good week of work preparing for the next game, all with a good atmosphere after winning the last game before the break,”
says Juan.
“We have been resting for a few days, but then getting ready for the next game – mentally and physically – and analysing the opponent and being tactically ready for it.

“I think we have to try to recharge the batteries whenever there is an international break if we didn’t go with the international team. The fixtures, as you know, are coming quick and fast, and we have to be ready to play every three days. So it was a good time to disconnect.

“We are looking forward to the busy spell. Of course, it’s exciting for me to play football as often as possible. I’m very much looking forward to it. Hopefully, from now until Christmas, and during the Christmas period, we know it’s a very important period and to have a good run of results.”
Let’s take a look at exactly what’s coming up…

UNITED FIXTURES IN 2020
Sat 21 Nov: West Bromwich Albion (h)
Tue 24 Nov: Istanbul Basaksehir (h)
Sun 29 Nov: Southampton (a)
Wed 2 Dec: Paris Saint-Germain (h)
Sat 5 Dec: West Ham United (a)*
Tues 8 Dec: RB Leipzig (a)
Sat 12 Dec: Manchester City (h)*
Tue 15 Dec: Sheffield United (a)*
Sat 19 Dec: Leeds United (h)*
Wed 23 Dec: Everton (a)
Sat 26 Dec: Leicester City (a)*
Mon 28 Dec: Wolverhampton Wanderers (h)*

*Subject to change for television coverage.

WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY?

We will start by wishing United legend Peter Schmeichel a very happy 57th birthday and you should send him your best wishes on social media, after watching the countdown of his top 10 saves below. 

United's Under-21 Papa John's Trophy group-stage campaign draws to a close against Morecambe at the Mazuma Stadium, in a game which kicks off at 18:30 GMT. Look out for updates via ManUtd.com and our Official App, before checking out the match in full on MUTV from 01:00 on Thursday.

As mentioned above, there are also five international matches that could include United players:

Pogland v Netherlands (van de Beek)
England (Henderson, Maguire) v Iceland
Northern Ireland (Galbraith) v Romania
Israel v Scotland (McTominay)
Wales (Levitt, James) v Finland.

Do you agree with our Schmeichel saves countdown?Video

WHAT HAPPENED YESTERDAY?

We wished former United favourite Nani a happy 34th birthday, showed his 10 best goals and detailed an incredible Opta stat that was trending on Twitter

There was thankfully a positive update on Reds defender Alex Telles from the Brazil Football Confederation, regarding his latest test for coronavirus in South America.

United Daily: Tuesday's newsVideo

Our internationals blog provided updates on four games:

Croatia v Portugal (Fernandes)
Spain (De Gea) v Germany
France (Pogba, Martial) v Sweden (Lindelof)
Uruguay (Cavani) v Brazil (Telles).

If you want to test your knowledge, make sure you check out our latest United Quiz – which is all about the players with the most caps for their respective nations. We bet you can’t score 18/18! 

Catch up on Tuesday's United news:

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