Michael Carrick.

Carrick explains biggest challenge for United squad

Thursday 07 May 2020 15:00

Michael Carrick says dealing with the uncertainty of when Premier League football will return is the biggest challenge for the Manchester United squad at present.

This Friday marks exactly two months since the Reds played our last domestic game and assistant-coach Carrick revealed during Thursday's MUTV Group Chat that the players are stepping up their training regime in the hopes of a return to football.

Despite that, with no concrete plans in place for the Premier League to commence again, he acknowledges it is tough to make preparations for an as-yet unspecified date.

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"That’s the biggest challenge: not really having a return date,” the former midfielder says during the MUTV Group Chat.

“That’s why we’ve tried to gradually increase training and we’re just giving ourselves the best chance to be ready, if, and when, we start.

“It’s the same as everyone - it’s not just about us and the players; it’s about everyone, in every walk of life. Everyone has got jobs to go back to and not knowing is the biggest issue. You can’t plan and you’re not sure what’s next.

“It can be difficult. We’re just trying to make the best of it and the lads have been great with everything we’ve asked them to do. It’s not easy and they’ve had to take the responsibility themselves and train on their own.”
Michael also sheds some light on the Reds’ training regime and reveals that mandatory sessions have begun in the last few days.

“At the start, we left the lads alone [doing their own fitness routines] because we were quite relaxed about it and could probably sense that it could be a good few weeks or months,” he says. “We were conscious of not being too intense with them at the start and then gradually increased it as we go along.

“As of this week, they’re now on compulsory sessions. It’s good and we’re just desperate to come back. They’re looking forward to getting back to what they know best. We’re just staying in touch and seeing what’s next, like everyone else.”

After a lay-off of several months, it will not be an easy process returning to regular top-level football, and Michael explains there are a lot of factors to consider, not just fitness levels.
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“It’s such a difficult thing to call because it’s unprecedented, this situation," he adds. "We’re using our experience and obviously, we’re using the experts to judge it.

“Even coming back for pre-season, some of the lads come back and they’re flying, whereas some lads you don’t see them until September; it can take five or six games to get started.

“Every club is going to be in that situation and it’s a balance. It’s the prevention of injuries as well. You can’t expect them to be training on their own at home and then, in a short space of time, expect them to play in a Premier League game. That’s the concern, probably not the fitness levels, it’s the injury prevention.

“Primarily, we’re talking about getting back to fitness and playing games, but also it’s about if they’re okay [psychologically],” Carrick says. 

“Like all of us, you want to make sure your friends and families are okay. They players are, obviously, part of our family and we want to make sure that, as humans, they’re alright and then the sport and the lifestyle can come after that.”

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.