‘We need four or five games to get up to standard’: Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer pleads for patience as his team look to hit back in the EFL Cup after Crystal Palace loss
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admits it will take Manchester United four or five games before they are firing on all cylinders this season.
United kicked off the new campaign a week after most Premier League clubs on Saturday and suffered a damaging 3-1 defeat at home to Crystal Palace.
Solskjaer’s side travel to Luton Town in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night, when the United boss will make a number of changes and leave some of his stars at home to step up their fitness schedules.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admits many of his Manchester United players are lacking proper fitness
United looked off the pace as they lost their Premier League opener 3-1 against Crystal Palace
The United boss acknowledged that it could be a while before his team rediscover their best form after only finishing last season a month ago.
‘We need four or five games to get up to the standard we know we’re capable of,’ he said ahead of the Luton tie and Saturday’s trip to Brighton.
‘We haven’t had an opportunity to get those games in and we have to make sure, in these games, we get the minutes and make the players ready to start competing in the league again.
‘Brighton away is going to be a very tough one so we’ll use this one, we want to get through, but it’s also minutes for a few.
Solskjaer’s side now face a tricky trip to Championship Luton in the third round of the EFL Cup
‘We’ll make some changes, of course we will. For some, it’s the pre-season and, for some, they’ve only been here for a week now, for different reasons.
‘Some of them need game-time and we can see we’re lacking in sharpness. We just need to make the most of the training sessions and games we have.
‘There are no fresh injuries after that (the Palace) game but, as I said, we’ll rotate and give some minutes. Some, after the game, will do some harder training this week to get ready for Brighton. Some will join the squad and go down there.’
On facing Championship club Luton, he added: ‘They’ve started really well, as you said, and finished last season really well as well.
Luton have made a fine start to the campaign as they prepare to test United at Kenilworth Road
‘They have, of course, beaten Norwich and Reading to get there in the cup and beaten Barnsley and Derby in the league as well.
‘It’s a team with confidence and they’re playing Man United, of course it will be a big game for them. But it’s a big game for our players, the ones who get a chance, as they need to show they are ready to be called upon.
‘Cup games are cup games, of course. Luton have got their style, Nathan Jones has come back now after doing so well with them and getting them promoted.
‘They’re a team that’s direct with high intensity, aggressive and, of course, set-plays – you worry about that when you play teams with centre-backs, well, that are a bigger size than me anyway.’
Solskjaer has warned that the hosts’ size could be one of the challenges for United on Tuesday