For almost every manager in world football, there is uncertainty and confusion about when their teams will return to action.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought the game to a standstill, and everyone’s best-laid plans for the season are up in the air.
Through social media, we have been able to see how players have been dealing with these tricky times. We see them in their gardens and their homes, keeping fit, practicing skills or just messing about.
But how does a top-level manager spend these days at home during isolation?
We spoke with managers in two of the world’s major cities to get an idea of just how they are coping with these strange times.
It was one month ago that Scott Parker’s Fulham were focused on their push for a place in the Premier League.
This is Parker’s first full season in management, and it has been going well. But days after a 1-1 draw at Bristol City—which left the west London club in third position in the Championship table—the campaign was brought to a halt.
Suddenly, from navigating the final nine matches of the season from his office at the club’s Motspur Park training base, Parker is confined to the walls of his Surrey home.
“It is a bit surreal,” he tells Bleacher Report. “You work for three-quarters of a season, but then after all that hard work you are brought to a halt. Obviously, we all know why, and we all realise this issue is much bigger than football, but you just have that sense remaining over when we are going back and how we are going to prepare for it.”
All indications from the football authorities suggest this season will be completed. Yet at this stage, no one is exactly sure when that will be.
Across the pond in New York, Ronny Deila is three months into a new job as head coach at NYCFC.
It’s a different situation to that of Parker, and he is getting to grips with a new culture, a new team and a new season. MLS was just two games into a new campaign when it was paused because of the coronavirus pandemic. As it stands, play is scheduled to resume in mid-May.
For Deila, a 44-year-old Norwegian living in America for the first time, getting to know his new home so quickly was not expected.
t was not an ideal start to the season for Deila, with NYCFC losing their first two MLS games 1-0.
Yet this period in isolation has given him a unique opportunity to assess his squad.
“This time has been quite beneficial,” he admits. “I have had time to look at things that I never normally would. For example, I have seen almost the whole of last season—I’m on Game 27!
“That has been very interesting. I have been able to look at the team’s weaknesses and strengths, and of course I also get to see the different opposition.