Sunday 18 August 2019

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer concerned over player fitness after sudden drop-off in form

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Photo: Reuters/Andrew Yates
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Photo: Reuters/Andrew Yates

Miguel Delaney

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and the Manchester United staff will assess the club’s physical conditioning in the summer, as there is a concern that the season’s approach has led to the loss of energy and drop in performance level over the past few weeks.

The Norwegian initially introduced a high-intensity game-plan that brought rousing displays and results in his first two months in the job, only for that to drastically drop off in the last few weeks.

United have only won two of their last six games, with both victories coming in otherwise unconvincing performances against Watford and West Ham United. Solskjaer and his staff feel the fitness levels of the squad have not been suited to how he wants to play, and there is dismay in how quickly the approach has resulted in fatigue and injuries.

There are therefore likely to be changes to the approach in the summer, as Solskjaer alters their physical conditioning.

Previous manager Jose Mourinho did regularly have complaints about injuries, and made significant changes of his own with the fitness approach, but Solskjaer does not feel the work done on the squad this season serves what he wants to do.

Alexis Sanchez was named among Manchester United's travelling contingent as they bid to overturn a 1-0 deficit in the return leg of their Champions League quarter-final against Barcelona.

The Chilean has been sidelined for the last six weeks because of a knee injury, but has returned to bolster an attack that failed to register a shot on target in last week's defeat at Old Trafford.

Midfielder Nemanja Matic and full-back Matteo Darmian were also part of the 22-man squad heading out to Barcelona on Monday morning.

Independent News Service

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