Manchester United players and staff have been warned not to spend too long outside when they face FC Astana in the Europa League next week, owing to the freezing winter temperatures in Kazakhstan that can sometimes fall below -20c.

The United players will be protected during the game itself on 28 November, as the Astana Arena has a retractable roof that will be closed, but going outside at others times has been advised against.

Manchester United v FK Astana: Group L - UEFA Europa League

According to ESPN, United players have already been informed well ahead of the trip that they should avoid being outdoors for more than 10 minutes at a time. That is most likely to apply to any downtime in the lead up to the game, as the squad will arrive in Kazakhstan the day before.

The current weather forecasts predict the temperature for the evening of the game will be around -17c, which may feel more like -20c, having fallen from -11c during the day.

As well as a retractable roof to protect from the elements, the Astana Arena is also equipped with an artificial pitch as natural grass suffers in the elements, as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer knows only too well from his time in Norwegian football. It will be the second time this season United have played on an artificial surface after doing against AZ.

UEFA Europa League"AZ Alkmaar v Manchester United"

Solskjaer was critical of that pitch and blamed it for a back injury suffered by Victor Lindelof.

The trip to Astana, which had an official name change to Nur-Sultan earlier this year, will see United travel 7,000 miles there and back. They will be closer to China and Mongolia than the rest of Europe and the tiring journey could see a handful of important players left at home.

Given that United will be playing Aston Villa, Tottenham (now managed by Jose Mourinho), and Manchester City in the days that follow the Astana game, it makes sense to rest key individuals – the club has already booked a place in the Europa League knockout rounds anyway.


It is worth noting that the Astana Arena has not been the fortress that Astana might have hoped it would be this season. Back in 2015/16 when the club was competing in the Champions League group stage, they were unbeaten at home, despite finishing bottom of the group, when Galatasaray, Atletico Madrid and Benfica all failed to win there.

However, this season in the Europa League, Partizan won 2-1 at the Astana Arena on matchday two, while AZ ran out 5-0 winners at the stadium on matchday four earlier this month.

United beat Astana at home courtesy of a single goal from Mason Greenwood on matchday one.

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