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