Manchester United are to install 1,500 barrier seats early next year as they prepare to trial safe standing at Old Trafford.

The pandemic concerns, that forced several European matches featuring football clubs from the English Premier League to be played at neutral venues due to the travel advisory against anyone coming from the United Kingdom, remain in place all across several tiers of the UK.

And now, members of the coaching staff of Manchester United are having to go into self-isolation on COVID-19 cautionary measures according to the health and safety protocols of the Home government. In the brief statement to this effect, United said unnamed members of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s backroom staff are isolating.

Apart from keeping the names private and the number of staff members involved secret, the club also did not disclose whether or not the personnel in question had tested positive for coronavirus or were identified via contact tracing.

It was clear, however, that Nicky Butt, head of first-team development, and head of development, Mark Dempsey, were cleared to join Solskjaer on the Old Trafford bench for the Newcastle late fixture on Sunday.

It is an indicator of the possible estimation of at least two of those who have been forced to go into self-quarantining because, usually, Assistant manager Mike Phelan and first-team coaches Michael Carrick and Kieran McKenna are the main members of the United boss’ matchday support.

This set of isolations notwithstanding, Sunday’s Premier League game against Newcastle United will go ahead as scheduled. Solskjaer’s side is still in second place in the standings of the EPL table. But, they are now 10 points behind table topping city rivals Manchester City, who travel to Arsenal earlier on Sunday in a bid to stretch their unbeaten run.

City’s 10 straight Premier League successes in 2021 forms part of an even more impressive story for Pep Guardiola’s side. They are now 24 games unbeaten in all competitions. Their last loss was away at The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on November 21.

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