Ole Gunnar Solskjaer lashed out at the Premier League’s scheduling after Manchester United fought back to beat Everton 3-1 on Saturday, saying his struggling team were “set up to fail”.
The United boss was under intense pressure before the match at Goodison Park after defeat to Arsenal and an embarrassing loss to Istanbul Basaksehir in the Champions League.
But man-of-the-match Bruno Fernandes scored twice and new signing Edinson Cavani opened his account as United won 3-1, giving Solskjaer some much-needed breathing space before the international break.
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A visibly angry Solskjaer praised his players but fired a stunning broadside at league bosses for scheduling United’s match early on Saturday after their midweek Champions League commitments.
“We were set up to fail,” the Norwegian told BT Sport.
“The kick-off time set us up to fail. We have been to Turkey, played loads of games this season already, we got back Thursday morning and we are playing Saturday lunchtime, it’s an absolute shambles.
“These boys deserve better. Luke Shaw has got injured because of it. It’s a hamstring which might be a long one and Marcus Rashford might be struggling.
“The authorities set us up for fail, who is responsible? We’ve had enough of that. Players this season, in these times, a pandemic, mentally and physically it’s draining.
“Let us play on a Sunday, there’s an international break after this, it’s a joke. The players were brilliant. Cavani is getting better and better.”
United started the match a lowly 15th in the table but showed grit and style as they recovered from going behind to a Bernard goal in the 19th minute.
Fernandes was the standout player for the 20-times champions, thriving in a creative midfield role in the absence of the benched Paul Pogba.
The Portuguese powered a header from a Shaw cross past a flailing Jordan Pickford and scored again when an intended cross for Marcus Rashford was missed by the England international and the ball crept in off the far post.
Former Paris Saint-Germain striker Cavani made the points safe with a goal deep into stoppage time.
The victory at the home of Carlo Ancelotti’s early-season pacesetters was United’s seventh straight Premier League away win.
Their form on the road contrasts sharply with their struggles at Old Trafford, where they have not won a single league game so far this season.
Everton, who topped the Premier League table earlier this season, have now suffered three consecutive league defeats.
“I hope that after the international break we will back in a different shape,” said manager Carlo Ancelotti. “It is not only a problem of the defenders, it is all of the team.”