Manchester United players returned for pre-season training on Monday morning, acutely aware that the hard work begins now.
Every single member of the squad have a major point to prove after last season, with the obvious exception of new signings Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
Finishing the 2018/19 campaign sixth in the Premier League table, 32 points behind champions Manchester City, simply isn’t acceptable for a club of United’s stature.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the man assigned the unenviable task of closing the gap on City, Liverpool and the rest of the top four.
A top-four finish and a serious crack at both the FA Cup and Europa League is the least that’s expected of Solskjaer and his players next term.
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More players will come and go before the summer transfer window closes on the eve of the new Premier League season, August 8.
Paul Pogba could be one of them - at least if the Frenchman gets his way.
He wants to leave Old Trafford for either Juventus or Real Madrid and will sit down with Solskjaer at some point this week to discuss his future.
Solskjaer’s main concern this week, however, will be the team rather than individuals.
The Norwegian coach is understood to have been ‘dismayed’ by the fitness levels shown by United’s players after taking over from Jose Mourinho last December and believes that was one of the reasons why the team were so poor in the final weeks of last season.
With this in mind, Solskjaer has devised a plan to ensure fitness isn’t an issue next season.
According to The Sun, United’s players will be made to suffer during their first week of pre-season training, with ‘brutal double sessions’ in store for the team.
Solskjaer has sent timetables to the players detailing their ‘gruelling’ first week of training for the first five days.
They will begin training at 10am, working tirelessly before heading to lunch at 12:30pm.
The players will then rest for an hour before a second tough two-hour training session gets underway at 2pm.
They will be allowed to go home around 4pm before doing it all again the following day.
United fly out to Australia for their pre-season tour next Monday and Solskjaer wants a full list of where all his players are in terms of fitness before then.
Several members of the squad have already been putting in the hard work prior to pre-season training - including Luke Shaw, Anthony Martial and Daniel James - but all of them will be expected to be in decent physical condition in time for the club’s first friendly against Perth Glory on July 13.
United then face Leeds United, Inter Milan, Tottenham, Kristiansund and AC Milan before their Premier League opener against Chelsea on August 11.News Now - Sport News