Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has hit out at Manchester United’s fixture schedule in a furious tirade after his side’s 3-1 win over Everton, revealing that both Luke Shaw and Marcus Rashford have picked up injuries as a result.
The Norwegian coach was under pressure after back-to-back defeats against Arsenal and Istanbul Basaksehir, but a first-half brace from Bruno Fernandes and stoppage-time strike from substitute Edinson Cavani secured a much-needed win at Goodison Park.
United only touched down in Manchester at 4am on Thursday morning after their Champions League involvement and Solskjaer was livid with the quick turnaround to Saturday’s game, saying his players need more protection.
Asked if it was satisfying to win during his post-match interview with BT Sport, Solskjaer immediately put the focus on United’s schedule, saying: ‘Of course it is, because we were set up to fail.
‘I said to you before, I wanted to talk to you about the kick-off time before the game. It set up the boys to fail.
‘We’ve got Luke Shaw injured today because we’ve been to Turkey, we’ve played loads of games this season already, we’ve been to Turkey Wednesday night, Thursday morning we’re back in, we play Saturday lunchtime kick-off.
‘It’s an absolute shambles and I can’t praise the boys enough for that character they’ve shown. That’s all I want to talk about today. Them boys, they deserve better than being thrown out here to fail today.’
He continued: ‘The authorities set us up to fail. We tried, how can you set us up after a Champions League game Wednesday night in Turkey and set us a Saturday 12.30 kick-off?
‘You’ve got Liverpool-City, fair play they play against each other, they played on Tuesday but play Sunday. Who’s responsible? We’ve had enough of that. I’ve had enough.
‘Because this season we have to understand how these players in these times – pandemic – how mentally draining that is, physically draining, and you set them up like this? We’ve lost Luke Shaw because of that.’
When it was suggested the demands were a by-product of being a big club in multiple competitions, Solskjaer snapped back: ‘So set us up on a Sunday then.
‘There’s absolutely no problem us playing on Sunday, it’s international break after. So no argument whatsoever [if it’s Sunday], it’s just a joke.’
On the specific injuries picked up by Shaw and Rashford, Solskjaer added: ‘Luke is a hamstring, that might be a long one. Rashford I think he’s struggling. Looked like he [hurt his shoulder]. So that’s the demands on the players.’
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