Rivals' managers unite behind Solskjaer
Two of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's top counterparts have cast aside club rivalries to support the Manchester United manager in his comments about demanding fixture lists.
The issue dominated the Norwegian's post-match interviews and press conference after the Reds' 3-1 win at Everton, which was scheduled for 12:30 GMT on Saturday despite the fact Solskjaer and his side had only arrived back in England at four o'clock on Thursday morning from the Champions League trip to Istanbul.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp and his opposite number at Manchester City, Pep Guardiola, were asked about the sometimes short window between midweek European matches and weekend games in the Premier League, after the pair faced each other in Sunday's 1-1 draw at the Etihad Stadium.
Solskjaer's verdict on Everton 1 United 3Video
“Ole was right. City and us played on Tuesday [in the Champions League], so there are always two teams who play Tuesday and two teams who play Wednesday.
“If the Tuesday teams are in contention now for the Saturday [lunch-time match], that’s okay. It’s not nice but it’s okay. But the Wednesday teams should not even be in consideration for that game, just not.”
The German also wants similar consideration to be factored in following an international break, with Liverpool, City and United all having multiple players due to represent their national teams this week and next.
“We played after the last international break at 12:30 at Everton,” Klopp continued.
“On the Wednesday night, some of my players were in Peru. Then we played at 12:30 [on Saturday]. These kinds of things should not happen.
“I understand 100 per cent the needs of television, 100 per cent. It’s completely normal that you play Saturday, it’s the 12:30 which is the killer.
“We have to find solutions because it’s so tough this year. This intensity is really difficult. We get it, we want to play football 100 per cent with all we have – we need to play football, it’s great for the people, it’s great for us, everything is fine. But [playing on] Wednesday night and 12:30 [Saturday] should not be allowed.”
Meanwhile, Guardiola returned to the recent debate about the number of substitutes permitted in Premier League games and stated his belief that keeping it to five this season, instead of reverting to three, would have helped to protect players from injuries like the calf problem sustained by Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold.
“Today, the right-back for the England team is injured,” said the City boss.
“All leagues all around the world except this one has five subs to protect players because the situation is unusual. The situation today is exceptional.
“Lebron James won the NBA title and will then go on holiday for two months, three months. These guys [our players] had two weeks.
“Will they change with Jurgen, myself, Ole? Of course not. The virus is here. And the national team in England now doesn't play with their full-back.”