Solskjaer voices specific Maguire concern ahead of Man Utd’s fixture pile-up

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has admitted that Harry Maguire’s record of not missing a single minute of Premier League action for Manchester United may come to an end next week.

Maguire has been ever-present for United in the Premier League since joining from Leicester in 2019.

He has made 71 consecutive league appearances in that time and will beat the club’s record for outfield players, currently held by nineties icon Gary Pallister, if he completes the full 90 minutes against Aston Villa on Sunday afternoon.

After their trip to Villa Park, however, United face games against Leicester and Liverpool in quick succession.

They will only have one day’s rest between playing Villa and Leicester, with another day off before they host Liverpool at Old Trafford in a rerun of the game which was postponed last weekend after United fans protesting against the Glazer family’s ownership of the club made it onto the pitch.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has voiced concerns about fatigue and injuries

In light of the imminent fixture pile-up, Solskjaer has admitted that he will need to manage his players, Maguire included, with extra care.

“Harry Maguire, he’s played every minute for us in the Premier League since he came,” he said after United made it through their Europa League semi-final against Roma in midweek.

“I don’t think that’s possible now. That’s another stat that he could have been very, very proud of but I can’t really see that happening now.

“I feel for my players, I feel for the team, I feel for them.

“Having had this fantastic season [and] got to a final, I’m sat here answering these questions and not about the run-in.

Harry Maguire has been a stalwart in defence for Manchester United over the last two seasons
Harry Maguire has been a stalwart in defence for Manchester United over the last two seasons

“They’ve worked their socks off, they’ve been absolutely brilliant and I’m just very, very happy for them that we’ve got to this place.

“We just have to do the best we can, it’s another challenge for us and please, you can see I’m not happy with it, I’m not sulking, it’s one of them things that I know my players will take head-on and we as a group will be stronger for it when we come out of it.

“I just keep my fingers crossed that no one will get injured. That’s going to be my biggest concern, injuries.”

Eric Bailly started alongside Maguire against Roma on Thursday evening, with United losing 3-2 but progressing 8-5 on aggregate.

Victor Lindelof remained on the bench throughout, with Solskjaer no doubt wanting to keep him fresh for the impending onslaught of fixtures.

Axel Tuanzebe is another option for Solskjaer at centre-back and, given the gruelling intensity of the fixture schedule, he could well make his first appearance since United’s 2-0 win against Granada in the Europa League quarter-finals.

United already have several players out injured, with Anthony Martial, Dan James and Phil Jones all currently unavailable.

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