Ole Gunnar Solskjaer explains why Manchester derby scheduling is unfair
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes his side will not be on a ‘level playing field’ when they face Pep Guardiola’s team in Sunday’s Manchester derby.
The United boss is annoyed that their FA Cup fifth round tie at Pride Park finished just 67 hours before the big Premier League showdown at Old Trafford.
“It’s that ‘help’ we get from the FA again,” said Solskjaer sarcastically. “I cannot believe it … that extra 24 hours they have had.
“There’s a derby on Sunday and we’ve got to play Thursday night. What is the point in that? That doesn’t level the playing field.
“Those 24 hours are important and we’ve got to be good at recovering now.”
City have had that extra day to recover, having played at Hillsborough on Wednesday evening but Solskjaer will not be making an official complaint.
“There’s no point,” he said. “It’s one of them where you get told when you are going to play. We have not get any help before this one.”
Captain Harry Maguire missed the 3-0 win over Derby County after twisting his ankle but Solskjaer expects him to be fit to face the champions.
Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka will also be assessed 24 hours before the game but are big doubts for the derby.
United’s last victory in this Premier League fixture came in April, 2015 and they have lost six and drawn only one of the last eight.
Solskjaer does have two derby victories at the Etihad on his record this season but the game that will be clearest in the memories of home supporters this weekend will be the 3-1 Carabao Cup first leg defeat when City tore their rivals apart in a one-sided first half at Old Trafford.
“We were played off the park for 15 minutes,” admitted Solskjaer. “Our heads went for a spell, thinking that we had to recover the game in 10 minutes when you don’t have to.
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