As many as 12 Manchester United players showed symptoms of food poisoning following their Europa League win over Sheriff Tiraspol, according to a report.
Having opened their continental campaign with a 1-0 home defeat to Real Sociedad, Erik ten Hag’s side sought to get back on track against the Moldovan champions.
With Queen Elizabeth II’s death leading to domestic postponements up and down the country, Man United had an extra weekend of rest to prepare for the midweek journey.
Ten Hag could afford to put out a strong XI for the Group E clash, where goals from Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo handed Man United a 2-0 win at the Zimbru Stadium.
A lack of police resources also forced the postponement of Man United’s Premier League clash with Leeds United, with forces prioritising the Queen’s imminent state funeral at Westminster Abbey.
The postponement of the clash with Leeds United may have been a blessing in disguise for the Red Devils, as The Sun claimed that Ten Hag’s squad has suffered a food poisoning outbreak.
Players supposedly reported symptoms on Friday following their return from Chisinau, and a total of 12 squad members are believed to have been affected by the bug.
Man United is reportedly attempting to determine how the players came into contact with the virus, with a meal in Chisinau or something on the private plane back to Manchester both put forward as possible explanations.
Some members of Ten Hag’s squad are understood to have missed two days of training with the virus, but others were given the green light to return to practice on Saturday, and no national team players have been forced to pull out.
Back in 2006, Tottenham Hotspur memorably saw a strain of norovirus ravage their first-team squad before the final day of the Premier League season, with the incident being dubbed “lasagne-gate”.
Following the outbreak, Spurs lost their grip on fourth place in the Premier League table following defeat to West Ham United, allowing Arsenal to qualify for the Champions League instead.
Fears of an identical illness situation arose before the final day of the 2021-22 season for Spurs too, as a few of Antonio Conte’s players were also sidelined with a stomach bug before the showdown with Norwich City.
Harry Kane was among those reported to have been sick, but the England captain recovered in time to line up at Carrow Road as Spurs ensured Champions League qualification with a 5-0 win.
Man United, meanwhile, enters the international break sitting fifth in the Premier League table – three points behind leaders Arsenal with a game in hand – having won each of their last four top-flight matches.
Ten Hag will experience his first Manchester derby on October 2 as the Red Devils resume Premier League action against reigning champions Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.