Following their 3-1 win at Everton Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was absolutely fuming about the Manchester United schedule and claimed that the authorities have set his team up to fail.
We’ve never seen Solskjaer this upset about, well, anything.
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Solskjaer saw his side fight back from 1-0 down as they showed superb sprit to dig deep after back-to-back defeats against Arsenal last Sunday and at Istanbul Basaksehir on Wednesday in the UEFA Champions League.
The fact that United flew back from Turkey in the early hours of Thursday morning and had to play at Everton in the early kick off on Saturday left Solskjaer fuming.
“We were set up to fail with the kick off time,” Solskjaer told BT Sport. “We got Luke Shaw injured today, we went to Turkey Wednesday night and got back on Thursday morning. It is an absolute shambles. I can’t praise the boys enough and the boys deserve better than to be thrown out here to fail today.”
“The authorities have set us up to fail. We’ve had enough of that. Players, this season, we have to understand the players in these times how mentally draining it is, physically draining it is. No argument, it is a joke… They are not going to have the pleasure of seeing us lose again.”
Does he have a point? He does. With United playing away in Turkey on Wednesday, they were given the early game on Saturday even though their game could have been pushed to late on Sunday.
Man City and Liverpool play each other on Sunday, and they both played in Champions League games on Tuesday, and Solskjaer made that point about scheduling games properly and not asking too much of the players. It’s hard to disagree with him, especially with the current congested schedule due to the pandemic.
Solskjaer provides injury update
The underfire Manchester United boss has see Mauricio Pochettino linked with replacing him for many weeks and was clearly annoyed at the fact his players have been pushed to their physical and mental limits.
Solskjaer revealed that Mason Greenwood hasn’t been feeling well so was left out of the squad for the win at Everton, while he also fears that he has lost left back Luke Shaw and Marcus Rashford is also struggling.
“Luke, a hamstring, could be a long one,” Solskjaer said. “Rashford, shoulder injury. He’s struggling.”
Solskjaer said before the game he wasn’t happy about certain things or didn’t want to make excuses, but he had this rant prepared, if they won. It was very Sir Alex Ferguson-esque from the current United boss, and quite clever as he tries to direct the attention away from his own future.
Pressure off Solskjaer… for now
Solskjaer gave his players all of the praise after the gritty display, as Harry Maguire held the defense together, Bruno Fernandes caused problems galore and the midfield duo of Fred and Scott McTominay did the dirty work superbly.
“They deserve all the praise. Well done to them,” Solskjaer said.
United’s manager also deserves praise for weathering the storm, for now, as a win before the international break will stop some of the reports about Pochettino replacing him. We all know a few more defeats will see Solskjaer face criticism again but he has a knack of delivering big wins when he needs it most.
Away from home United have now won seven games on the spin in the Premier League and they are well set up to be a counter-attacking team. Now, just to sort out how the home form, some consistency and clean up the defensive mistakes.