Manchester United’s squad will return to full training on Monday after being granted the option of a week off at the start of the international break.
United are on a poor run of form, having lost six of their last 12 games, and they’ve suffered back-to-back defeats to Liverpool and Manchester City at Old Trafford, conceding seven goals in the process and failing to score.
Players not called up for international duty are usually granted a break for a significant portion of the first week and this fortnight they’ve been given the whole week off.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer flew to Norway on Monday with his wife and two sons and he’s spent the week back home recharging his batteries. It’s understood he will return to Manchester over the weekend to begin preparations for the trip to Watford.
Solskjaer is expected to be in charge for the trip to Vicarage Road despite the mounting pressure he is coming under. The Norwegian only narrowed avoided being sacked after the 5-0 defeat to Liverpool on October 24.
He steadied the ship with a convincing win at Tottenham, but since then United had to salvage a late draw after a disappointing performance at Atalanta and were then comprehensively outplayed by City in the Manchester derby.
But Solskjaer is clinging on to his post at the moment, with the lack of a clear replacement one stumbling block to making a change.
United’s poor run of form has seen them slip to sixth in the Premier League, five points off the top four. They desperately need a result against the Hornets at the start of a difficult week, which includes a trip to Spain to face Villarreal on Tuesday and then a clash with Premier League leaders Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
Having been given the week off the members of the United squad not away on international duty will begin their preparations for the trip to Watford on Monday.
The rest of the squad will return during the week, with Harry Maguire and England’s international commitments ending on Monday night.
Portugal’s crucial final World Cup qualifier takes place on Sunday night, when Diogo Dalot, Bruno Fernandes and Cristiano Ronaldo will be in action against Serbia.
Speaking after the defeat to City, Solskjaer said the international break might have come at a good time for his beleaguered squad.
“We are human beings and when you lose a game of football there is no better feeling than winning a game,” he said.
“Hopefully the ones that go away do that and for us, it is all about Watford. We have to come out against Watford like a proper hurt animal.
“The short answer is it has come at a good time for us. As a group we have had a difficult spell, we have come through it but this was a big step backwards.”