Ander Herrera has admitted frustration with the way Manchester United’s convoluted pre-season schedule has played out.
The World Cup has deprived Jose Mourinho of ten senior players, while Nemanja Matic and Antonio Valencia have both gone back to Manchester for treatment.
Man United’s late start to pre-season preparations has meant they have played five games in the space of 11 days during their time in the United States.
And Herrera, speaking to MUTV, noted that such an onslaught of games has been difficult for senior players.
“The least important thing is the result right now,” he said. “We are playing with the same players every game.”
“It looks like a Christmas period to be honest rather than a pre-season, but it is what it is. We have to be all together, to try to have minutes in our legs, to not think too much about the results and let’s try to keep improving because the most important thing is Leicester.
“Of course it is never nice to lose. But pre-season is pre-season.”
United’s pre-season of 2018 has been a tale of continued struggle. The contrast with a breezy and successful 2017 tour, during which Mourinho had all of his players and saw Nemanja Matic arrive in early August, could hardly be more stark.
The games have come thick and fast, somehow feeling less important as time has gone on, with United failing to alleviate the off-pitch hysteria with anything convincing on it. Players like Herrera, Juan Mata, Andreas Pereira, Luke Shaw and Matteo Darmian have all been given an unusual amount of minutes.
This pre-season feels strained, directionless, burdensome. The season will not feel as if it has kicked off in earnest for United until players like Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku return to full fitness.