Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has claimed the Premier League set his team up to fail with regards to the scheduling of Saturday’s clash with Everton.
Having already played on Wednesday against Istanbul Basaksehir, an encounter they lost 2-1 to the Turkish side, the Red Devils were instructed to play the Toffees in Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off.
It was a game they emerged victorious from by a 3-1 margin – Bruno Fernandes credited with the opening two goals before setting up Edinson Cavani late on to seal the game – but Solskjaer complained in the aftermath of the timing of the match.
“The authorities set us up for fail, who is responsible? We’ve had enough of that. Players this season, in these times, a pandemic, mentally and physically it’s draining. Let us play on a Sunday, there’s an international break after this, it’s a joke,” he complained to BT Sport.
“We need to look after players, not just my players. We tried to change today's game a month ago.”
The authorities set us up to fail ... It's a jokeOle Gunnar Solskjaer
Solskjaer went into the Goodison Park fixture a man under pressure, having seen his side lose three of their six Premier League fixtures to date before complicating their lives in Europe with that shock loss in the Turkish capital.
He is not, however, the first manager to complain about being asked to play early on Saturday after coming back from European action.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola have both expressed their distaste for the authorities’ tendency to ask them to play so rapidly in succession.
“I think everybody would agree that if you play Tuesday night, you can play the Saturday 12:30pm game, but somehow the Premier League never realises that," Klopp told BT Sport.
"They always put in the Wednesday night game, like last Saturday, Man City had to play this game [12:30pm on Saturday] - I can’t believe it. We are obviously not friends, we play against each other and fight against each other, but how is that possible?
"Maybe I’m too dumb. Richard Masters and all the others have all said it before; ‘come on, that’s how it is’.
“They just aren’t bothered. I don’t understand why.”
Chelsea, the other club in Champions League action on Wednesday, are also in action on Saturday, when they will host Sheffield United.