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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Manchester United have to rise to the challenge of a packed schedule if they are to finish the season on a successful note.
United still have at least twelve games left this season, and will be hoping to add more. They play Leicester in an FA Cup quarter-final on Sunday, and will face Granada at the same stage of the Europa League after the international break.
This season has been busier than ever but Solskjaer says it is something his players will simply have to get used to if they want to win things in the future.
Solskjaer told United’s official website: “If you want an easy, comfortable life then you don’t play for Man Utd. You’ve got to be mentally strong and also physically strong and robust. To be successful you want to challenge yourself and these are the periods we want.
“I think if you manage to recover between [games] and you get your rhythm then that’s the best way.
“If we are to end up successful this season, next season, in two years or in five years from now then you have to get used to playing 45-50 competitive games a season at least, that’s what it should be for a Man Utd player and consistently.
“If you have five, six, seven players who can do that then we can challenge for trophies. I like to play games… we can drip feed and rotate of course. Maybe Leicester and Brendan [Rodgers] have had time to tactically think about things, but we just carry on.”
Four players – Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes, Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka – have racked up more than 40 appearances for United already this season, with the former three also featuring for their countries during the international breaks.
Rashford has made the most appearances in total with 45 going into the Leicester game, but captain Maguire has spent more time on the pitch than any other player with almost 4000 minutes of game time already this season.
If United were to reach the finals of both the FA Cup and Europa League, they would still have 17 more matches to play in all competitions this season.