Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has warned his Manchester United squad to be fit before they report back for pre-season this summer or risk being excluded from the club’s summer tour.
United’s stats for sprints and distance covered per game have been behind their rivals and the manager wants to crack down on fitness levels ahead of the new season.
Each player has been given an individual fitness and nutrition plan for the summer to keep them in top shape in the off-season and Solskjaer has insisted that if the plans are not adhered to, players will be dropped from pre-season.
“They have all got their programmes to do over the summer,” Solskjaer said. “We expect them to be ready to go on July 1 when we start.
“We’re not going to use the first 10 days to build them up, they should be ready to go.
“We have a longer summer break than any of the other challengers and have to use that as an advantage. It’s not like a threat – but whoever’s not ready on July 1 will probably stay and not travel with us on tour.
“We only want and need players we can use over there.
“Yes, they all have individual programmes. Some need strength, some need cardiovascular stuff, it’s all different.
“For me, as a player, the last two weeks before we came into pre-season, that was my time to try to get fit to impress the gaffer when I started back.
“And it’s hard sometimes for the young kids. I’ve been in the reserves and we send them away saying, ‘Come on, look after yourself.’ Because you never know what the manager is going to do when you come back after the summer.
“Then I’ve seen some of the young lads who have a chance to go with the first team and they’ve come back in a state. They know who they are.
“We’re staying in Australia for 10 days, so the tour has been structured quite well.
“There are some flights but after the long one out there and the one on the way back I don’t think it will be a problem.”
The Manchester United boss knows his club need to get off to a good start next season if they are to close the gap on the top of the table.
“We have to close this gap as quick as we can.
“If we can get the momentum early on, I’m sure we can catch a few teams.”
United end their Premier League season at home against relegated Cardiff City after a run of just one win from their last eight games in all competitions