Ole Gunnar Solskjaer furious with Manchester United fixture pile up, questions Liverpool match scheduling

Manchester United's clash with Liverpool was postponed last weekend after a fan protest at Old Trafford; match has been rearranged for next Thursday, meaning United will play three Premier League games in five days; Ole Gunnar Solskjaer slams decision made by 'people in suits'

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 0:41
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has criticised the scheduling of his side's fixtures which sees them facing four games in eight days

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer criticised the decision to reschedule Manchester United's clash with Liverpool for next Thursday, insisting he will have no choice but to rotate his players in the coming games in order to protect them from injury.

United's original clash with Liverpool was postponed last weekend after a fan protest at Old Trafford against the club's owners. The rescheduled match means Solskjaer's side face the gruelling prospect, at the end of an unrelenting season, of playing three league games in five days.

After successfully negotiating their way past Roma on Thursday to reach the Europa League final, United travel to Aston Villa on Sunday, live on Sky Sports, before they welcome Leicester to Old Trafford on Tuesday night.

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Ahead of their next match against Fulham the following Tuesday, the rearranged Liverpool fixture has been squeezed in, a decision that has angered Solskjaer.

"I've never seen that schedule before, not in modern-day football," Solskjaer said. "I've looked through and I know that Man Utd in 91/92 had a very similar run-in and you can see how the results deteriorate. So for me, we've been dealt a very bad hand by people who sit behind their desks in suits who have never played football and understand what this is about.

"I can promise you that it's impossible to play 90 minutes four times at this intensity, at that level in the Premier League, from Thursday to Thursday. That means I cannot play everyone every minute, which means we've got to prioritise.

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"Sunday 2pm is not the problem, that was always scheduled. Tuesday, Thursday after Thursday, Sunday - that's a big problem."

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United are on course for a second-place finish this season, the highest of Solskjaer's tenure, sitting four points ahead of Leicester going into the weekend's fixtures.

But Solskjaer has other priorities in the coming week - avoiding injuries to his players, with a first trophy on the horizon. Rotation, the Norwegian insists, is inevitable.

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"Two games in three days is difficult but you can accept that, we do that at Christmas," Solskjaer added. "Two games in three days, after a long season with all the games we've had, even more difficult.

"Three games in five days - very, very difficult, almost impossible. And four games in eight - it is impossible. But we'll take the challenge head on. I'm not sitting here sulking but I'm just saying some up there don't understand the physicality of the Premier League. It's the best league in the world.

"I don't know how you can defend playing three games in so short a space of time. I know there'll be teams fighting for the Champions League places that will not think 'that's not Man Utd's best team, that's not their best players'. But I've got to look after the players, and that might mean someone isn't happy with my team selection for one game - or two games.

"That might affect whoever gets into fourth position, or the Champions League. That's not my problem, it's everyone else's problem."

Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool have failed to win their last three league matches, allowing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Manchester United to overtake them at the top 0:25
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says he has sympathy for Solskjaer for a run of fixtures which will see them playing four games in eight days

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp admitted to feeling sorry for Solskjaer, but insisted his side are not the beneficiaries.

"We were informed about the process of re-arranging but that was it," Klopp said. "I have sympathy for him - it's not how it should be but it's not good for us either.

"I would have preferred to play the game last week but now we have five games in the last two weeks which is not really cool as well. But it is what it is and nothing to complain about - it's just the situation."

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer shakes hands with Edinson Cavani after he was substituted during the game at Roma
Image: Solskjaer remains hopeful Edinson Cavani will stay

Solskjaer was more positive on the form of Edinson Cavani, who backed up his double in the 6-2 Europa League semi-final first-leg win over Roma last week with another two goals in the 3-2 loss in the return leg in Rome.

No decision has been made by Cavani as to whether he wants to stay in Manchester beyond this season, but his manager remains hopeful.

"We don't have a time limit [on when he could sign a new deal] but the more goals he scores the better we become as a team, the more chance he'll want to have this feeling again," Solskjaer added. "Let's talk after Sunday again. Maye he's decided, maybe."

Solskjaer: Sunday is a massive game

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer trusts his players to kick-off their run of three Premier League matches in five days with a victory in Sunday's "massive game" at Aston Villa.

"I trust my players to get a result [against Aston Villa]," he said. "First of all, Sunday is a big game for us. Of course, Sunday is a massive game and we're looking forward to it after the boost of getting into a final.

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"This will hopefully give us energy and then let's see what we do Tuesday and Thursday. We just have to take it day by day and hopefully we can play those games.

"I think [Aston Villa are] a very good team. You saw them last week beat Everton. They've had a very good season. They had a little spell with some worse results but we played them in a pre-season friendly before this season and lost.

"We won a hard-fought game 2-1 at Old Trafford. We know it's going to be tough but we're looking forward to it.

"I think we'll recover, refuel, we're looking forward to this game, the players are looking forward to it. They know it's a big game for us."

PA - Anthony Martial
Image: Anthony Martial is set to play a part before the end of the campaign

Solskjaer has to strike a "balance of who plays when" in this quickfire Premier League triple-header, which will just come too soon for Anthony Martial.

The 25-year-old has been ruled out with a knee injury sustained on international duty with France in March, but the forward is set to play a part before the end of the campaign.

"We've got belief and hope that he'll be available for the last few games of the season," Solskjaer added.

"He's working hard to get fit. He won't make these three games, though. That's unfortunate because we would have needed him."

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