Solskjaer 'cannot believe' five subs in Premier League was voted down amid punishing schedule

Click here to watch it live with fuboTVfuboTV
Solskjaer Man Utd 2020Getty

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said he couldn’t believe that teams voted against having five substitutes in the Premier League this season.

The rule was brought in during Project Restart to help teams deal with the intense schedule while trying to finish the last campaign, however teams voted against keeping the rule for the current season and reverted to three substitutes.

“I don't understand and cannot believe that the vote went against that because we have to look after the players and think about the players,” Solskjaer told his pre-match press conference.

“This season is the most demanding season of all. I can see the point why clubs voted against but if you take a step back and think about these professional footballers and their mental and physical health the only sensible solution would have been to give us the opportunity to rest a few more.

"We have already seen loads of injuries in the Premier League. Pep [Guardiola] has been talking about it, other managers too. We as managers, as clubs, as medical staff, we have to look after them, that’s why we have to rest players at certain times. So, yeah, I would have liked to have had five subs.”

Solskjaer would have relished the five substitutes rule even more now he believes he has a stronger squad to utilise.

The Norwegian managed to give rests to Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford in the 5-0 hammering of RB Leipzig on Wednesday - the latter coming off the bench to score a hat-trick - and the team have won three of their last four games in all competitions while rotating his squad.

“At the moment, we are looking like a Man United squad. I’ve got opportunities, I’ve got competition for places,” Solskjaer said.

“Any successful team in the modern era of football have had that option to rest players, to rotate and that is probably the only way you can last in the most intense league in the world for me and also with Champions League involved, and you want go for the trophies.”

Alex Telles, who is isolating after a positive Covid-19 test, is the only expected absentee as United prepare to take on Arsenal at Old Trafford on Sunday and it will be another test of Solskjaer’s management skills as to how he rotates his team to get a result.

He will be hoping the momentum after four good results continues with the visit of Arsenal to Old Trafford this weekend, and the United manager explained why the rivalry isn’t as strong as it used to be back when he was playing in the late 90s and early 2000s.

“I think football has developed and so many clubs have developed strength in depth and the ability to challenge for the trophies so even though the last two seasons you’ve had two teams running away with it, I think this season a lot us just underneath them would hope to put up a challenge,” Solskjaer said.

“Back then we felt it was either us or Arsenal, and then Chelsea came through as well. For me now it’s probably more exciting and interesting, for the fans as well and everyone that just don’t really have, ‘it’s going to be one of these two’. 

"It’s shown this season - anything can happen this season, what’s happening around the world. We’re just taking one game at a time.”