Lessons Solskjaer can learn from the last time Man Utd faced punishing schedule

Over the next week, Manchester United will face a punishing schedule the likes of which they have seen in 29 years.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men will play three Premier League games in the space of just five days between Sunday and Thursday.

A trip to Aston Villa before home ties against Leicester and Liverpool will take place in the coming days.

This will be the first time that United will play three league games in five days since April 1992, when home games against Southampton and Nottingham Forest were sandwiched by a trip to Luton.

Here, Mirror Football takes a look back at that period and what lessons Solskjaer can learn from it…

Change can be good

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can learn several lessons from the last time Man Utd played three league games in five days

First up in April 1992 for United were Southampton, with an Andrey Kanchelskis goal enough to win the three points for the hosts.

For the trip to Luton, Sir Alex Ferguson made only two changes to his side, with Lee Sharpe and Neil Webb coming into the midfield for the 1-1 draw.

Two days later against Forest, Ferguson again only made two changes, with Kanchelskis and Clayton Blackmore starting the 2-1 defeat.

Solskajer possesses a wealth of quality throughout his squad and has already stated he will already make heavy use of it.

Keeping his team fresh will be key, with Liverpool and Leicester both still fighting for a place in next season’s Champions League.

Make use of the bench

Sir Alex Ferguson was in charge the last time United faced such a tough schedule
Sir Alex Ferguson was in charge the last time United faced such a tough schedule

Solskjaer will benefit from the rule change brought in this season which allows Premier League teams to have nine substitutes each match.

Ferguson made two subs in both of the final two matches of United’s last punishing stretch, though none of them did much to affect the scorelines.

United’s current boss has already proven he can be highly effective with his subs, fans only need to look at the second leg against AC Milan for how influential a replacement, in that case Paul Pogba, can be.

The Red Devils will undoubtedly tire over the course of the 270 minutes and fresh legs could prove crucial.

The proof of that is in 1992, with United losing two of their next three games after the Forest defeat to miss out on the Division One title.

Home comforts

United will play two of their next three games at Old Trafford
United will play two of their next three games at Old Trafford

Much like the 1992 stretch, United will play two of their next three games at Old Trafford, though Solskjaer would probably have preferred to have the majority being away games.

Ferguson’s men defeated Southampton in the first game of their stretch, before being defeated by Forest five days later.

United rank fifth for home form this season, but will hope for an improvement following the visits of Leicester and Liverpool.

In the loss to Forest, the 1992 version of United conceded the winning goal 10 minutes from time, suggesting this year’s team will need to keep their focus right up till the end of their horror stretch.

Tough opposition

United will face a far tougher schedule this time around than in 1992, with all three of their upcoming opponents being in the top-half of the Premier League.

Luton were the only side really fighting for anything 29 years ago, with the Hatters struggling to avoid relegation.

Villa are only attempting to claim a top-half spot, while Leicester are all but set to finish in the top four this season.

That means Liverpool are the only team really needing the three points, which means Solskjaer could save his better players for when the Reds come to Old Trafford.

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