Manchester United stars warned by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has warned that his players are in for a rude awakening if they think Manchester United’s warm-weather break in Dubai will be a holiday.
United will fly out after Saturday’s FA Cup third-round tie against Reading at Old Trafford for a four-day stay at the £400-a-night One&Only Royal Mirage Arabian Court.
But Solskjaer insists it will be an opportunity to put his players through a tough fitness workout rather than a sunshine break.
“I’ve got to know everyone and had plenty of time to speak with them but not much time to train, so if any of the players think it’s a holiday they're wrong,” said Solskjaer.
“We’re there to stick together, to work hard on the physical part of it ahead of the Tottenham game.” United face Tottenham on January 13 as they push for a place in the top four.
Solskjaer revealed that Paul Pogba is likely to miss the Reading clash through injury. United’s record signing, who has four goals and three assists in four games under United’s new caretaker boss, was hurt by a challenge from Jonjo Shelvey that went
Munpunished in United’s win over Newcastle in midweek.
However, Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez – who both made an impact off the bench at St James’s Park on their return to the squad – will start against the Championship strugglers.
“(Marcos) Rojo and (Chris) Smalling out,’ said Solskjaer. “I'm not sure if Paul's going to be ready – he got a knock against Newcastle – and if (Marouane) Fellaini gets through the session today, it's more or less a full squad.
“There will be a few changes and they’ll get a chance. Some of them are itching now to play, of course.
We’ll get Lukaku and Sanchez a start. That's important for them because they need more game time.”
“We're about wining trophies and the FA Cup final is such a fantastic one to play in. I played in the 1999 final at Wembley and after having watched so many FA Cup finals as a kid, to walk from the dressing-room to the pitch was fantastic. I'd seen it so many times in Norway.
“That's what we hope for. Whatever competition you're in, you want to win. That's more or less what you expect from a club like this and players we've got.”
Solskjaer is looking to emulate Sir Matt Busby’s record of winning his first five games in charge. But he is refusing to get carried away by talk of landing the job permanently when his five-month loan from Molde.
“No, it's early doors,” he said.