Solskjaer vexed by tight fixture list
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has expressed his concern at how our season run-in now shapes up as we are set to play four games in nine days.
Thursday night's UEFA Europa League semi-final second leg away to Roma marked the start of an extremely busy period for the Reds.
Due to the postponement of the Liverpool game last weekend, Ole’s team have been handed a new fixture list which consists of four Premier League matches in nine days with the first being away to Aston Villa on Sunday. Including our encounter with Giallorossi on Thursday evening, that means United will be in action five times in just 12 days.
After this weekend's trip to Villa Park, we have three home games in a row. Leicester City come to Old Trafford on Tuesday 11 May with Liverpool coming to M16 two days after that before Fulham complete the Theatre of Dreams hat-trick on 18 May.
Watch Solskjaer’s press conference for Villa (A)Video
“I’ve never seen that schedule before in modern day football,”the manager said.
“I’ve looked through and I know Man United in 91/92 had a very similar run-in and you can see how the results deteriorated.”
“If I’m going to look after the players, I’m going to make some decisions,”Ole explained.
“We’ll just have to make some decisions. I’ve got to look after the players, that’s the biggest thing, [avoiding] injuries to players and that’s too much of an injury risk. This year has been so difficult, but we’re happy to put games on. It’s so important to be safe with security around, I understand all this, it’s got to be safe for the players.”
Ole believes the schedule is unfair, compared to the other teams in the league, but insists the Reds will still give maximum effort in the season run-in.
“We want to try to put a good product out there. At the moment, it looks difficult, but knowing these boys, they’ll take the challenge head on,” he told reporters.
“Knowing me, I’ll take the challenge head on too but I cannot risk the players, so there has to be rotation. It has to be a lot of rotation and decisions made on the day of the game. We can’t prepare for the games like other teams, when they get a week or two, or maybe five or ten days.”
The United boss is adamant that his team just have to take one game at the time as the season reaches its climax, with the Reds targeting a high Premier League finish as well as the Europa League trophy.
“I trust my players to get a result,” said Ole, about the upcoming match against Villa.
“First of all, Sunday is a big game for us. Sunday is a massive game and we’re looking forward to it after the boost of a final which will probably give us energy, hopefully give us energy and then let’s see what we do on Tuesday and Thursday. We’ve just got to take it day by day and hopefully we can play those games.”
9 May: Aston Villa (A) - 14:05 BST
11 May: Leicester (H) - 18:00 BST
13 May: Liverpool (H) - 20:15 BST
18 May: Fulham (H) - 18:00 BST
23 May: Wolves (A) - 16:00 BST
Europa League final
26 May: Villarreal (N) - 20:00 BST