Erik ten Hag has admitted that he can’t develop his Manchester United side during the international break with so many key players away from the club.
United’s final game before the break against Leeds United was postponed, due to a lack of police presence being available as a result of Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral taking place the day after, on 19 September.
It means Ten Hag’s side now face a period of over two weeks without any football matches to play before they return to action on 2 October, away to rivals Manchester City.
Ideally, Ten Hag would use the coming weeks to prepare his team for such a task and make them more familiar with his tactics, but the Dutchman admitted he doesn’t have the players to do so, with so many away representing their nations.
“I don’t have the players. What can we plan?” he told the club’s official website.
“We can plan work structures with the players who will be there. They will get a break but also have good sessions,” he added: “We can work on specifics but, when 90 per cent of the squad is not there, we cannot work on development. That is clear.”
Ten Hag will at least have some senior players to work with. Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford both missed out on a return to the England squad by Gareth Southgate, the latter due to injury, while Donny van de Beek has also struggled for fitness in recent weeks and continues to be left out of the Netherlands squad given his lack of playing time at club level.
Of the 11 players that started in their win over Sheriff Tiraspol, though, only Sancho and David de Gea will remain with the club for the upcoming break.