Odion Ighalo.

Reds dealing with the strange situation

Manchester United striker Odion Ighalo believes the squad is getting used to the new conditions imposed as part of Project Restart and the bid to return to footballing action.

Players are still being instructed to adhere to social distancing guidelines, wherever possible, and are managing the strict protocols that remain in place at the Aon Training Complex.

When the Premier League does kick off again, later this month, the games will be played behind closed doors, as was the case for our 5-0 success against LASK in the Europa League – the last fixture we fulfilled before the enforced break.

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Odion Ighalo on the Group Chat.
Watch Odion Ighalo's MUTV Group Chat with Andy Cole, Danny Webber, Wes Brown and Ben Thornley.

Ighalo, speaking in the latest MUTV Group Chat hosted by Stewart Gardner, also confirmed Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford have stepped up their return to full fitness, so there look to be a whole host of options available to manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Hence, the mood in the camp appears bullish, with the players and staff raring to go again, and looking to extend our unbeaten run of 11 games in all competitions.

“I'm getting better and better every day,” the Nigerian told us. “I'm still working every day and we have been training together the past two weeks now, so it's getting close to the game. The sharpness is coming, the fitness is coming and everything is going well.

“It's been strange, you know, because you have to stay two metres apart to talk to your team-mates. Sometimes, you need to get close to give them some signs but now it's two metres and it's kind of strange. But this is what we have to do for us to be safe and for the game to go on. We are ready to do it and we're happy to do it.

Ighalo scored in the last game before the lockdown – the 5-0 win at LASK – and feels the experience of already having played behind closed doors may help when the Premier League resumes.

“It was strange, you know, but it's okay,” he said. “We know there is nothing we can do now but play behind closed doors and we're happy to do it.

“In the game against LASK, it was strange because you could hear everything when your team-mates shouted. In a normal game, you can't hear, but it was clear and loud. It's a bit strange without fans, and difficult, but we have to be safe so we have to do it.”

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Odion Ighalo in Linz.
See Odion Ighalo prove he knows where the net is.

The squad appears to be in great shape ahead of the proposed return to action later this month, with Pogba and Rashford working hard to recover full fitness after their injury lay-offs.

“Everybody is looking good,” he added. “Running, working hard and playing football. Little two-a-sides and doing some ball work. Everyone is getting better and better.

“Everyone is back, even Paul is back training normally and Rashy is back training as normal. Everyone is training normally and training full and all that, so the squad is full and everyone is ready, I think.

“I can't wait for the league to start again. I'm really looking forward to it. We did mention today there could be 15-16 games left before the season is finished and I know everybody should be ready because no matter who starts the game, we know everybody is going to take part in the games. So we have to be ready, physically and mentally, because everybody is going to get a chance. We're working hard and I believe we're going to do great.”

We'll have a new episode of MUTV Group Chat at 16:00 BST, every day from Monday to Friday. You can watch them all on our United at Home page.

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