Manchester United: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer angry with organisers as City handed derby advantage
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has criticised the fixture schedulers after Manchester United were given 24 hours less time to prepare than rivals Manchester City for the third consecutive Premier League derby running.
United welcome City to Old Trafford on Sunday, having progressed past Derby County to reach the FA Cup quarter-finals less than 72 hours earlier. City’s fifth round tie – a 1-0 win at Sheffield Wednesday – was played on Wednesday night.
For the third time in a row, a league Manchester derby will be played as one of two games in a week and United have been granted less time to recover than their rivals.
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Before last season’s corresponding fixture, a Wednesday night derby at Old Trafford in April, City played at home to Tottenham Hotspur on the previous Saturday while United played away to Everton on the Sunday.
And before meeting on a Saturday at the Etihad earlier this year, City played away to Burnley on the previous Tuesday, while United played at home to Tottenham on the Wednesday.
“It’s that help we get from the FA again, that extra 24 hours that they’ve had,” Solskjaer said on Thursday night, after United’s win at Derby. “I cannot believe why there’s a derby on Sunday and we’ve got to play Thursday night. What’s the point in that?
“That doesn’t level the playing field. It was the same when we beat them last time to be fair, we played Wednesday and they played Tuesday. Those 24 hours are important so we’ve got to be good at recovering now.”
Solskjaer said he had not made his feeling known to either the Football Association or the Premier League, conceding that he had little influence over United’s schedule.
“No, I’ve not [complained]. I don’t think we can,” he said. ”It’s one of those where you get told when you’re going to play, so we’ve not got any help before this one.”
United overcame their lack of recovery time to beat City at the Etihad in December, in one of the most memorable wins of Solskjaer’s managerial spell to date.
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