Solskjaer slams 'physically impossible' fixture schedule after Man Utd reach Europa League final

By Sports Desk May 06, 2021

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said Manchester United's fixture schedule will be "physically impossible" for his players in the wake of their progress to the Europa League final.

Despite losing 3-2 in the semi-final second leg on Thursday, United secured their place in a cup final for the first time under manager Solskjaer with an 8-5 aggregate win over Roma.

United started with a strong side in Rome despite their 6-2 first-leg win, with Edinson Cavani scoring in each half to help the Premier League giants progress despite goals from Edin Dzeko, Bryan Cristante and an Alex Telles own goal.

The Red Devils must now return for a hectic run of three Premier League games in five days. They visit Aston Villa on Sunday, host Leicester City next Tuesday and tackle Liverpool next Thursday in a match that was postponed from last weekend due to supporter protests against the owners.

Solskjaer appeared resigned to the fact his players are unlikely to be able to play at their maximum against three tough opponents.

"It's unheard of," he told BT Sport. "[The decision] was made by people who have never played football at this level. It's physically impossible for the players.

"We have not been dealt a good hand. We are going to need everyone for these four games. It's a short turnaround, but we have to be ready."

United had lost their previous four semi-finals under Solskjaer, including in last season's Europa League, and they needed Cavani's goals and 10 saves from goalkeeper David de Gea to keep Roma at bay amid a somewhat erratic performance.

"It feels good to be in the final," said Solskjaer. "We played one very, very good half at Old Trafford, which has taken us through. I'm disappointed we lost, especially the way we played in the second half.

"It could easily have been 8-6 to them. It was a strange game. We kept giving them the ball but luckily we have one of the best keepers in the world. We are in the final and are looking forward to May 26."

Captain Harry Maguire accepted United gave up too many opportunities in the Italian capital and was full of praise for Cavani's clinical scoring touch.

"It's a great achievement to get to the final," he said. "We didn't win the game and that's disappointing but we did the hard work in the first leg.

"We started the game a bit edgy. It was end to end like basketball and we gave them too many chances in the second half.

"Now we've got to go to the final and win it. Edinson scored two great goals and his movement and work rate without the ball is excellent.

"His second goal is typical of him and what he has done throughout his career."

Related items

  • Man City sign keeper Ortega Moreno Man City sign keeper Ortega Moreno

    Manchester City have made goalkeeper Stefan Ortega Moreno their second signing of the transfer window.

    The 29-year-old was a free agent after leaving Arminia Bielefeld and has signed a three-year deal with the Premier League champions in a move that is subject to international clearance.

    Ortega Moreno will provide back-up for Ederson for Pep Guardiola's side, with Zack Steffen set to join Championship side Middlesbrough on loan.

    The arrival of German Ortega Moreno comes after City landed prolific Norway striker Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund.

    "This is a fantastic move for me," Ortega Moreno told the club's official website. "Manchester City are an amazing team – a squad with world-class quality in every area.

    "To be given the chance to join this group of players and help continue the club's success is a dream for me.

    "I have enjoyed my time in Germany and I want to thank the Arminia Bielefeld fans for their support. But this new challenge of coming to City and playing in the Premier League is too good for me to ignore. 

    "I can't wait to get started, meet my team-mates and begin working with Pep and his backroom staff."

    Meanwhile, City have allowed teenage defender CJ Egan-Riley to join Vincent Kompany's Burnley on a four-year deal.

     

  • Qatar 2022 World Cup to implement semi-automated offside VAR Qatar 2022 World Cup to implement semi-automated offside VAR

    FIFA has confirmed it will utilise semi-automated VAR offside technology at the Qatar 2022 World Cup later this year, says head of refereeing Pierluigi Collina.

    The move to introduce further advancements in the VAR process for this year's showpiece tournament has been ongoing over the past few months.

    Following trials at the Arab Cup and Club World Cup, the fresh processes – which can cut VAR decision-making from 70 seconds to 25 seconds – is set to be implemented in the Gulf State in November.

    Collina, a former World Cup final referee when he took charge of Brazil's win over Germany at Korea/Japan 2002, says the time is now to bring in semi-automated technology, which will further enhance decision-making.

    "We are very positive. It is ready," he stated. "I read about robot referees. I understand this is very good for headlines, but it is not the case.

    "The match officials are still involved in the decision-making process. The semi-automated technology only gives an answer when a player is in an offside position when they play the ball.

    "The assessment of interfering with an opponent and seeing if a handball or foul was committed remains at the discretion of the referee. Our goal is to get referees taking decisions correctly on the field.

    "If something wrong should happen, the referee may take advantage of the technology to get a better vision of what happened – but there will still be room for discussion."

    Semi-automated technology will make use of in-ball sensors, dedicated multi-tracking camera rigs and 29 rapid data points on players to help calculate exact positions.

    The Qatar 2022 World Cup opens on November 21, with Senegal facing the Netherlands and England squaring off with Iran before the hosts play the official opening game against Ecuador.

  • Tolisso returns to Lyon on five-year deal Tolisso returns to Lyon on five-year deal

    Corentin Tolisso has returned to Lyon on a five-year deal after leaving Bayern Munich.

    The 27-year-old midfielder left Lyon to join Bayern for a fee of €41.5million in 2017 and experienced five successful years with the Bavarian giants.

    Tolisso won five Bundesliga titles, lifted the Champions League in 2021 and the DFB-Pokal twice.

    A World Cup winner with France in 2018, he also won the Club World Cup and the European Super Cup two years ago.

    Tolisso was available as a free agent after his Bayern contract expired and has opted to move back to the club where he started his career.

    He told the club's official website: "I'm very happy to come back and be part of the club's new project.

    "Lyon is my city, it's where I grew up, where I feel good and I come back with great pleasure.

    "I felt a lot of love from the supporters and I can't wait to vibrate with them again at Groupama Stadium."

    Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas said: "This is a very big day for me. Corentin is a very great player and also a great man. We are continuing ambitious recruitment based on OL DNA"

    Tolisso will be reunited with Alexandre Lacazette, who also returned to Lyon after leaving Arsenal.

     

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.