FIT TO DROP Ole will axe stars from summer tour if they re­turn out of shape

Sunday Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - Irish Racing - @steve­bates_peo­ple By STEVE BATES

MANCH­ESTER UNITED boss Ole Gun­nar Sol­sk­jaer has warned his stars he’ll ban them from the club’s summer tour if they re­turn to pre-sea­son out of shape.

He has de­cided to get tough with his un­der­per­form­ing play­ers and has also re­vealed every mem­ber of his first-team squad will be been given a strict train­ing pro­gramme to fol­low over the summer.

United’s stats on run­ning, sprints and miles cov­ered dur­ing games have lagged be­hind the rest of the top six – and Sol­sk­jaer is de­ter­mined to raise the fit­ness lev­els be­fore next sea­son.

And he wants the play­ers in shape BE­FORE they re­turn from their hol­i­days on July 1 to start 10 days of con­di­tion­ing work be­fore fly­ing to Perth in Aus­tralia for the first leg of their tour.

“They have all got their pro­grammes to do over the summer. We ex­pect them to be ready to go on July 1 when we start,” said Sol­sk­jaer.

“We’re not go­ing to use the first 10 days to build them up, they should be ready to go.

“We have a longer summer break than any of the other chal­lengers and have to use that as an ad­van­tage. It’s not like a threat – but who­ever’s not ready on July 1 will prob­a­bly stay and not travel with us on tour.

“We only want and need play­ers we can use over there.”

Stars, such as Luke Shaw, Romelu Lukaku and de­part­ing cap­tain Antonio Va­len­cia, have been crit­i­cised over their fit­ness by pre­vi­ous bosses Louis van Gaal and Jose Mour­inho – and Sol­sk­jaer has or­dered tai­lored pro­grammes for all his squad.

United’s fit­ness and nu­tri­tional coaches have de­vised be­spoke plans to be ac­cessed on the play­ers’ iPads and com­put­ers while they’re on hol­i­day.

“Yes, they all have in­di­vid­ual pro­grammes. Some need strength, some need car­dio­vas­cu­lar stuff, it’s all dif­fer­ent.

“For me, as a player, the last two weeks be­fore we came into pre-sea­son, that was my time to try to get fit to im­press the gaffer when I started back.”

Sol­sk­jaer ad­mit­ted that, if any of his play­ers don’t ad­here to his rules over the summer, it will be a clear in­di­ca­tion they aren’t buy­ing into his vi­sion to put United back on track. “Def­i­nitely, and it’s hard some­times for the young kids. I’ve been in the re­serves and we send them away say­ing, ‘Come on, look after your­self ’.

“Be­cause you never know what the man­ager is go­ing to do when you come back after the summer.

“Then I’ve seen some of the young lads who have a chance to go with the first team and they’ve come back in a state and they know who they are.”

De­spite two games in Perth in mid-July after pres­tige friendlies against In­ter Mi­lan in Singapore and Tot­ten­ham in Shanghai, Sol­sk­jaer isn’t con­cerned that the tour will dis­rupt his con­di­tion­ing plans and leave his stars jaded.

“We’re stay­ing in Aus­tralia for 10 days, so the tour has been struc­tured quite well,” he said. “There are some flights, but, after the long one there and the one on the way back, I don’t think it will be a prob­lem.”

Liver­pool man­aged to close a 25-point gap on Manch­ester City this sea­son after Pep Guardi­ola’s stars hit 100 points to win the ti­tle last sea­son.

And Sol­sk­jaer be­lieves that, if United hit the ground run­ning next term, they can gain ground.

“We have to close this gap as quick as we can,” he said.

“If we can get the momentum early on, I’m sure we can catch a few teams.”

An­der Her­rera has agreed terms with French gi­ants PSG on a contract worth around £160,000 a week.

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