Manchester United: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer unhappy with Chelsea’s ‘unfair’ FA Cup advantage

United play Chelsea at Wembley on Sunday, having had 48 hours' less rest

Mark Critchley
Northern Football Correspondent
Thursday 16 July 2020 07:13 BST
Solskjaer says Manchester United didn't expect anything else against Southampton

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has described the scheduling of this season’s FA Cup semi-finals as “not fair” as Manchester United prepare to face a Chelsea side which will have enjoyed an extra 48 hours of rest.

United travel to play Crystal Palace in the Premier League at Selhurst Park on Thursday night, two full days after Chelsea’s victory over Norwich City. Both clubs are competing for the final two Champions League qualification places.

“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.”

United face a gruelling schedule, with four games to be played across 10 days, all of which could have a significant bearing on the success of their season.

After Thursday’s trip to Palace, the league campaign continues with West Ham at home next Wednesday followed by a final day trip to Leicester City. Brendan Rodgers’s side are level on points with Solskjaer’s, only above them in fourth-place on goal difference.

“We’ve not really played every three days but we definitely will now,” Solskjaer said. “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.

“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.”

Teenage striker Mason Greenwood is a doubt for the trip to Selhurst Park with a swollen ankle after falling victim to a forceful challenge by Oriol Romeu in United’s 2-2 draw with Southampton on Monday night.

After the final whistle, Solskjaer expressed his surprise that neither referee Chris Kavanagh or VAR official Lee Mason felt Romeu’s challenge was worthy of punishment and confirmed on Wednesday that Greenwood – who played on – had suffered an injury.

“I’ll give Luke [Shaw] as much time as possible – him and Mason, their ankles are swollen and a bit blown up,” he said, adding on Greenwood: “In the heat of the moment he’ll play on and adrenaline gets you going, and then you get a little bit of reaction after.

“I said after the game that my ankles were a bit weak after many years of football. But obviously Mason carried on and I think it should have been looked upon by the referee definitely.”

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