Solskjaer vows to make Man Utd players run faster and further despite injury crisis

The Norwegian was alarmed by the running stats of his players when he took over from Jose Mourinho just before Christmas.

And during his two months back at Old Trafford he has set about getting them back into shape physically.

He believes they have benefited as United have gone from an average of 98 sprints per Premier League game this season under Mourinho – to 108.6 most recently.

Yet he fears the daunting injury list he now has on his hands could be a consequence of him upping the workload.

Upto TEN first team regulars are on the treatment table as United head south to take on Crystal Palace tonight.

Solskjaer said: “It’s probably linked, yes because when do you make that change? “Do you wait until pre season and think you will change results by just not asking them to run?

“Or do we start now and show them what the demands of intensity and are how we want to play and of course we, well you have seen what I have chosen.

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“I have chosen that we need to play as a Manchester United team – and if you want to be a part of Man United, it’s a survival of the fittest isn’t it?”

Solskjaer says he is by no means finished with trying to get his players fit again – and plans more work over the final few weeks of the season.

He added: “We’ve not had time really to work on the fitness, it’s been more in the games.

“We had a week in Dubai, we’ve not really had many weeks of training, lots of game time, but Dubai as you might have noticed it was more of a tactical one than a physical one.”

One player whose fitness was called into question earlier this season was £75 million striker Romelu Lukaku.

The Belgian admitted he bulked up for the World Cup in the summer – and Solskjaer has tried to make him more streamlined.

The interim boss said: “I can understand why when you go to a World Cup and you see the teams you play, it might be that his physicality took over that part of preparation.

“We ask our forwards, strikers to work at a higher intensity, to run in behind, but that’s what he likes, so I’m sure he’ll be fine.

“Muscle is not so difficult to get rid of. He’s lean, but he’s muscly. We’ll get him in the box and score us goals, that’ll be his job.”

Solskjaer has drafted in three academy players to make the trip to Selhurst Park – Angel Gomes, Tahith Chong and Jimmy Garner.

The Manchester United chief expects to be without Antonio Valencia, Phil Jones, Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera.

Defender Marcos Rojo is touch and go but Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood are likely to be sidelined.

Sunday’s draw with Liverpool saw United lose their place in the top four – one of the main targets for the manager to hit.

But he said: “Every single game is going to be very important. As I’ve said many times before, every day here is a chance to improve standards.

“We need to get back to the standards that are set for a Manchester United player. We can’t say we are happy with the top four.

“A top-four finish would be fantastic, but to get to the final of the FA Cup and win a trophy would be fantastic. You can’t pick and choose.”

However, Solskjaer admits his players will have their say in deciding his United fate.

Old Trafford legend Gary Neville claims there will be a ‘mutiny’ in the squad if the Norwegian does not get the job.

United chief Ed Woodward is staying tight-lipped though and there are no plans to announce a permanent successor until the end of the season.

Solskjaer knows the way his team performs over the next couple of months is likely to be key to whether he gets the nod.

OGS – who turned 46 yesterday – said: “Well, the players will have a say in the way we play the rest of the season.

“Whether we can manage to keep going, keep progressing, keep getting results, keep getting the crowd behind us, because we need that.

“We need to fight now towards the end of the season. It’s not like I’m walking round saying ‘Come on’.“

Asked about Neville’s views, he added: “Let’s just take that when it comes. Gary is known for his opinions and comments, so that’s his job.”

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