Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been urged by Gary Neville to rest players for next week’s Manchester Derby in order to be refreshed for their top four clash against Chelsea.
Man Utd will collide with eternal adversaries Man City next Wednesday before taking on Chelsea four days later, with both fixtures completing a heavily-congested 11 day schedule that sees them play Barcelona on Tuesday and Everton away this Sunday.
Should Solskjaer rest players? Five key things to know…
- Man Utd are currently competing with Spurs, Arsenal and Chelsea for a top four finish.
- At present they are sixth and two points adrift of current fourth-place occupiers Arsenal.
- United are also competing on all fronts in the Champions League but face an ominous second leg away trip to Barca with a one-goal deficit.
- As such United may find that their best hope of elite European football next season is via a Champions League qualification spot in the Premier League.
- With City aiming to retain their domestic crown, Solskjaer may be tempted to prioritise the Chelsea match.
Since Solskjaer took the reins in December he has galvanised United and put them back in contention with a realistic chance of finishing in the top four.
His side face stern competition in what is proving to be one of the league’s most fiercely competitive top four races, and for that reason former defender Neville believes Solskjaer should take a more pragmatic approach in the coming weeks.
“It’s a huge ten or eleven days from Barcelona through to Chelsea,” Neville said on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football.
“You think about that squad and can the same team play every one of those matches? They will have to prioritise and make changes.
“Sunday is the most winnable out of those three games and if Manchester United were to win on Sunday, if they beat City but lose to Chelsea they still end up out of the top four.
“If they lose to Chelsea but beat City they are in the top four. So [Jamie] Carragher has got his head in his hands here but my point is in terms of priorities, if they were to win the game at Everton on Sunday, the match to change things around would be the City game.
“You cannot play the same players during four games in eleven days. If they beat Everton, my thought would be that they make two or three changes against City whilst still trying to get the result.”
Subscribe to Squawka’s Youtube channel here.
Ole will need “different players” – Neville
Despite Solskjaer’s initial success in rejuvenating United’s season, the dust has now well-and-truly settled with the Red Devils losing four of their last six matches.
Neville believes the Norwegian has made an incredible start to his United tenure, but will need to freshen things up in the summer if he has aspirations of remaining in the dugout longterm.
He said: “What we saw earlier on in the season, we can’t just forget about. We can’t forget about that, I can’t forget about what I was watching.
“As much as I enjoyed watching it when Ole took over, now we’re seeing it settle down a bit. Ole wants to be in the job for two or three years, he’s going to need to get some different players around him and manipulate that squad.”