Ole Gunnar Solskjaer shouts instructions at Goodison Park

Solskjaer calls for better scheduling

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made his feelings about the fixture list abundantly clear when he spoke to the media after Manchester United's 3-1 win at Everton on Saturday.

His team's excellent victory gave the manager a perfect platform to complain about the scheduling, which required the Reds to kick off against Everton at 12:30 on Saturday, less than 60 hours after arriving home from Wednesday's Champions League game against Istanbul Basaksehir in Turkey.

Solskjaer made four changes to his starting line-up but, even with some fresh legs in the selection, he had several players who sustained injuries during the hard-fought 90 minutes at Goodison Park.

It left him to ask why the game could not have been played on Sunday instead, to allow his men more time to recover from their midweek travel exertions.

Everton 1 United 3: Ole's press conferenceVideo

Speaking in his post-match press conference, held over video call as usual during the coronavirus pandemic, Ole said:

“I think it’s such a serious issue that, in the times we’re in, we don’t look after these players. They’re not robots, they’re human. They're asked to perform and you know the intensity of the game.

“You can see towards the end we didn’t have the intensity in our game because of tired legs, tired minds.

“In the second half, we were tired, you can see we went into survival mode – hanging onto the result. What can we do? Sit back, take a deep breath and look at the scheduling and use common sense.

“When you’re in Europe on a Wednesday night in Turkey, we come back on Thursday morning about four o’clock, and we’re asked to play at 12:30 [on Saturday]. What is the problem with us playing on a Sunday?

“I didn’t want to speak about this before the game, but now I think it’s an important time to raise it. Look after the players. We’ve already had too many injuries in the Premier League; not just my players, other teams’ players. We need to think about them.”
When asked if anything can be done about fixture congestion, the United manager replied,
“I hope so”
and revealed he had tried to get the game moved.

“I’ve pushed my club to really fight the kick-off time on this one – give us at least half a chance. But [the club's request] was just quashed.”


He went on to explain the impact that lack of sufficient rest between games can have on players.

Highlights: Everton 1 United 3Video

“There are too many serious injuries in the Premier League this season already,”
said Ole.
“This might come from mental fatigue, physical fatigue. 

“If you're late in a tackle, [it could be] that you’re fatigued and tired yourself. You could injure someone else because you’re tired and go into a tackle.

“We want this product to be the best in the world and it is at times and it’s so exciting, but we don’t want it to harm any player. These times are so difficult for everyone in the world - not just football, in life in general - and we need to look after everyone.”


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