‘I’ve been away playing the World Cup, the Euros, everything’: Victor Lindelof insists Manchester United stars are unfazed by Cologne lockdown… with his side set for two-week stay if they make Europa League final
- Manchester United are locked down in their own bubble while out in Cologne
- Club are bidding to win the delayed Europa League, now in fresh format
- Victor Lindelof says the conditions do not faze stars because of experience
- United will have spent two weeks locked down if they make Europa League final
Manchester United players have enough experience of international tournaments to cope with a 13-day lockdown in Cologne, insists Victor Lindelof.
United’s win over Copenhagen in the Europa League quarter-finals on Monday night means Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his players will be staying in Germany for at least another six days.
If they beat the winners of Tuesday night’s tie between Wolves and Sevilla in the semis this weekend, United will play in the final in Cologne on August 21 – meaning they will have been there just short of two weeks.
Victor Lindelof says Manchester United players are drawing upon their tournament experience
Coronavirus safety protocols mean the United squad must remain in a ‘bubble’ and can only leave their hotel for matches and training sessions.
But Sweden defender Lindelof says the players are used to being confined while representing their national teams at the World Cup and other tournaments.
‘It’s going to be fine,’ he said. ‘I think all the players have been playing tournaments. I’ve been away playing the World Cup, the Euros and everything.
‘Even if we’re not able to leave the hotel at the moment, we have things to do there so I think it will be fine. No problem at all.’
United are through to the semi-final stage where they will face either Sevilla or Wolves
Sportsmail revealed that UEFA have allocated United the training facilities at fourth division Fortuna Koln or a third division alternative now they are staying on in Cologne.
Solskjaer admitted that the situation is not ideal, although United at least have an extra day to prepare for the semi-final against Wolves or Sevilla.
‘The facilities are not the same as we’re used to, but that is no excuse. Every team has the same conditions,’ said the United boss.
‘We’re used to having the best facilities around the world for recovery and preparation, and we just have to make the most out of a difficult situation in conditions that are hot and humid.
‘But we’ve got six days to prepare for a game. There’s not many times we have that.’
Lindelof admitted that United weren’t at their best against Copenhagen, needing a penalty from Bruno Fernandes in extra-time to go through.
Ole Gunnar Solskajer is bidding to win European silverware at the end of his first full season
The humid conditions didn’t help and fatigue also appeared to play a part.. It was United’s 60th game of season that began a year ago on Tuesday.
‘It was a tough game but we came through in the end and we’re happy for that,’ added Lindelof. ‘We knew what kind of team they were and I think they made it difficult for us, even if we didn’t play at our level.
‘It’s very difficult to say just why. It happens sometimes football. Of course, it’s been a long season but we played a quarter-final in a European cup so I think everyone had to be ready for that.
‘It happens sometimes in football that you don’t perform at the level you want to. But the important thing is that we won and we’re through to the semi-finals.
‘I think we could have done a lot of things better but when we had the ball they made it difficult for us. Sometimes they pressed high and when they didn’t they dropped deep and defended compact as a unit. It was hard to create some chances there but I think we should have scored a few more goals.’
Bruno Fernandes’ penalty was enough to see United make it through to the last four teams
United lost in the semi-finals of the FA Cup to Chelsea and Carabao Cup to Manchester City, but Lindelof believes there is enough confidence in the camp now to go one better – whichever team they face on Sunday.
‘It’s always been our goal to win this competition,’ he said. ‘We’ve been playing a few semi-finals this season and hopefully we can win the next game and get through to the final.
‘I think we have a lot of confidence in the team right now. We’ve been performing on a very high level, especially after the league ended. We got the third spot and we’ve been performing some really, really good football. I think everybody has a lot of confidence and we know we can do some great things.
‘Obviously even if we play against Sevilla or Wolves, they are two tough teams but we’re going to be ready and hopefully we can go out and play a really good game.’