Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes Manchester United have been dealt an unfair fixture schedule in the final two weeks of the Premier League and he’s going to have to play his cards well as they chase down a Champions League spot.
United have three games left of the current campaign and an FA Cup semi final in the next 11 games and while Chelsea have four days to prepare for Sunday’s Wembley clash United have just two as they play Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Thursday evening, and Solskjaer is not happy about it.
“There is a concern, obviously, that they will have had 48 hours’ more rest and recovery than us. It’s not fair,” Solskjaer said. “We spoke about a fair scheduling going into this restart and of course it isn’t. But I have to think about Thursday, winning that one, focusing on that one, and then pick up the pieces after that.”
Despite the hectic schedule, which sees United play twice next week too, Solskjaer is confident with the fitness levels of his side as they look for a final push into the top four in the last three league games.
“The next two weeks will be hectic but then again we’re fit, very fit - our lads have not felt as fit as this for years, I’m sure,” Solskjaer explained.
“It was a big thing towards the end of last season that we felt our team wasn’t fit enough, we got a few injuries, this season we’ve not had that kind of a problem.
"It’s not going to be a problem and a concern for us but 24 hours, 48 hours is a big difference at this time [of the season] so we’ve not been handed four Aces, to put it that way, for the last two weeks. But we’re going to have to put on a poker face and play the cards well.”
After coming off the bench against Tottenham in the first game since the restart Paul Pogba has started every Premier League game since and he looked a bit off the pace in the draw against Southampton at Old Trafford. But, if the Frenchman isn’t selected for the Palace clash it won’t be because he has been dropped.
“I’ve been speaking more or less every day with Paul. He knows that he wouldn’t be dropped. When Paul plays like this he wouldn’t be dropped from any team in the world - France or Man United - but he’s been out for a long, long time,” Solskjaer explained.
“There was a question mark before the game [against Southampton]. But he felt ready for it, which was great, so now let’s see how he is today or even tomorrow morning. He’s been fantastic since the restart and brought a lot to the team.”