Manchester United flops are treated to a spa day! Massages for misfits as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s lads lap up a pamper session following their woeful performance against Burnley
- Manchester United’s defeated players turned up for a spa day on Thursday
- It was the morning after they were booed off the field after losing to Burnley
- Session had been booked in before and staff decided to go through with plan
- This is now Manchester United’s worst start to a league season in 30 years
Manchester United sent their players on a spa day at a luxury resort on Thursday — the morning after they were booed off the pitch at Old Trafford.
The United squad turned up at The Mere Golf Resort & Spa in the wake of Wednesday night’s dire 2-0 defeat to Burnley that saw angry fans also turn on the club’s hierarchy.
It is the same exclusive Cheshire retreat where 22 Instagram models stayed earlier this month before allegedly joining Manchester City players in a ‘Bunga Bunga style’ party.
Manchester United players were seemingly treated to a spa day after their defeat to Burnley
Assistant manager Michael Carrick was first into the spa at 10.40am on Thursday morning
Juan Mata and David de Gea chat as they turn up for a pampering session at the spa
United are understood to have booked their team’s warm-down session before the Burnley game and decided to stick to their plans despite one of their worst performances in recent years.
Some fans will be shocked to learn that the players were being pampered after suffering their third defeat in four league games and losing at home to Burnley for the first time in more than half a century. United are also set to go on a warm-weather training camp in Marbella during the winter break next month.
Assistant manager Michael Carrick was first into the spa at 10.40am on Thursday — closely followed by Nemanja Matic, before captain Harry Maguire and the rest of the team went in.
Phil Jones turns up to The Mere spa in a hoodie ready for a morning of relaxation
The fans booed them off the field after what is now their worst start to a season in 30 years
The players not involved on Wednesday night — including Eric Bailly, Angel Gomes, Tahith Chong and James Garner — had a behind-closed-doors game against Liverpool Under 21s at Carrington.
Paul Pogba was back at United’s training base on Thursday for gym work, but remains on crutches following ankle surgery.
United are continuing to give manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer their full support despite the recent slump.
Their view is that this cannot be considered Solskjaer’s team until he signs more new players. Fans also gave their backing to Solskjaer on Wednesday but there was a toxic atmosphere as they protested against United’s American owners the Glazer family and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, who was the target for one particularly distasteful chant.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men were woeful as they slumped to a 2-0 defeat at Old Trafford
The squad are said to be exhausted after a run of 18 games in 60 days, with several injuries
Goals from Jay Rodriguez and Chris Wood stunned United as Burnley ran away as victors
Woodward was not at the game because he was away on club business and his No 2 Richard Arnold was attending the Davos summit in Switzerland.
But stewards were deployed on the perimeter of the pitch in front of the directors’ box and the Stretford End Right Side where the singing section is situated.
United have no plans to beef up security around Woodward or speak to fans in that part of the ground about the chants being aimed at him. There were large areas of empty seats visible around Old Trafford.
In Woodward’s absence, other senior figures went down to the dressing room area afterwards where one was heard to say that it was the worst United performance he had witnessed.
The spa day was apparently booked before the match, and the plans were not changed
The departure of Ashley Young last week has deprived them of another leadership figure
The squad are said to be exhausted after a run of 18 games in 60 days, with Solskjaer having to rely on a relatively small group now that Marcus Rashford has joined Pogba and Scott McTominay on the sidelines.
The departure of captain Ashley Young to Inter Milan last week has deprived United of another leadership figure.
The players are also believed to feel let down by the board for the failure to replace Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez before pulling out of a move for Norway striker Erling Haaland.
Talks with Sporting Lisbon over midfielder Bruno Fernandes have stalled.
IT’S BLINDINGLY OBVIOUS WHAT THE CLUB NEED TO DO – HIRE MAURICIO POCHETTINO
Comment by Ian Herbert
The appointment felt from the beginning like an act of blind optimism from a club seeking the elixir of their glorious past after the preening self-absorption of Jose Mourinho.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer actually collected his clothes from an Altrincham dry cleaners. He actually liked his players. But a fundamental niceness can no more sustain a football team than ghosts of ages past. The images of Manchester United’s players arriving for their spa day in the aftermath of humiliation at Burnley’s hands tells us how utterly lost this great institution has become.
The prime obstacle to the change of manager so urgently needed is the individual conspicuous by his absence from Old Trafford on Wednesday night. Ed Woodward has worked his way through four managers in six years and burnt his way through the thick end of £750million in the process. His personal reputation is invested in Solskjaer more than any of the other hires.
The necessary action is so blindingly obvious that you wish, for United’s sake, that the club had owners who were remotely connected. Mauricio Pochettino is not only available but he fits the great club’s philosophy like a glove. Sir Alex Ferguson always knew this. There was a reason why he, Pochettino and the then Tottenham manager’s assistant Jesus Perez sat down together at Scott’s in Mayfair in 2016 to enjoy a £114 bottle of Brunello di Montalcino 2011. (‘Myself and Sir Alex spoke, and Jesus drank,’ Pochettino later related with a smile.)
It was around the same time that Ferguson described Pochettino as ‘the best manager in the Premier League’. He is the one who fits more essentially than any other into Ferguson’s notion of what successful football management is all about, not least developing a youthful, homegrown core.
Woodward is the safest man in Old Trafford, secure enough to maintain the course he has set, with a share price which has soared from $15.33 in October to around $20 now. These are the numbers that matter in the space United now occupy.
But the mood in Old Trafford on Wednesday was desultory, deathly; about as bad as any night in what they laughably still call the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ across the seven years since Ferguson walked away. Every day of this self-imposed purgatory puts off the moment when United must set about tackling the yawning gulf between them and Liverpool. Every day without change is a wasted one.