Manchester United caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes his squad can use their upcoming trip to Dubai to work on a number of areas, including fitness.
The Red Devils have an eight-day gap with any matches after they host Reading in the FA Cup on Saturday, and Solskjaer believes a mid-season warm-weather training camp is the ideal way to sort out a number of the squad’s weaknesses.
“We can get fitter and we have to do that through the training sessions here,” the former United striker admitted in his pre-match press conference, “but Dubai is a good chance because now is the first time we get a week of work together.
“The ones who have not been in the squad have worked on their fitness.”
The Norwegian coach is drawing from his own experiences as United player, and believes Sir Alex Ferguson’s strict fitness regimes ensured his side always finished the season strongly.
“I still have pictures in my mind every January, the gaffer [Ferguson] with the stopwatch and he times us – all of those runs,” Solskjaer recalled. “That stood us in good stead towards the end of the season, so it is a time to work hard. Even though we’ve got plenty of games, we need to work
Solskjaer has had an impressive start to life as United coach, leading to further speculation that he could be offered the job on a permanent basis next summer.
"[To] get to summer and people are talking about the way Man United are playing,” he said, when asked what he believed would constitute ‘success’ and be enough to earn the permanent role.
“The style we’re playing, it reminds us of Sir Alex’s team. It reminds us of the successful times. It has to start with the way we play because results you cannot control. You can control how you approach the game and how you play
“And of course, trophies. If you can get to the final of the FA Cup and get a trophy. Everyone knows how tough it is to lose a game. That was my last game, we lost an FA Cup final [against Chelsea in 2007]. That was tough last year. Let’s see in May if it’s a success or not.”
The 45-year-old also gave a few hints as to who could play on Saturday against Reading.
“There’ll be a few changes,” Solskjaer conceded. “They’ll get a chance, some of them that are itching to play. Get Lukaku a start, get Sanchez a start. That’s important for them because they need more game time.