Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said he is hoping “fresh legs” will give his team the edge over Manchester City in their Carabao Cup semifinal on Wednesday ((Wednesday at 2.45 p.m. ET, live on ESPN+).
United have had four days to prepare for the derby after beating Aston Villa 2-1 on Friday while the meeting at Old Trafford comes just 72 hours after City’s 3-1 victory over Chelsea on Sunday.
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City had more than a week between games over Christmas when their trip to Everton was postponed after Pep Guardiola’s side returned a number of positive tests for COVID-19.
“We’ve had four days now after Villa so hopefully we’ve got more fresh legs,” Solskjaer told a news conference on Tuesday.
“It’s a difficult season but we’ll benefit from the rotations we’ve made. That’s going to be important with having fresh legs.
“With City against Chelsea, the freshness and sharpness and intensity they had, It was no surprise there because they had a few extra days to prepare.”
Solskjaer is aiming to reach his first final as United manager after losing at the semifinal stage of the Carabao Cup, FA Cup and Europa League last season.
The Norwegian has almost a full strength squad to choose from, although Edinson Cavani is sidelined through suspension.
“When you get to a semi you’ve done a lot of good work to get there,” Solskjaer said.
“We’ve improved immensely in a year since the last semi when we were in Europe in August. For me, it’s a step closer to get to the final and we’ve developed a lot.
“You play football to win trophies, to get your hands on a trophy even though when you win you move onto the next one.
“It gives you hunger to win more. The squad is focused, ready to give it a go and we’ve prepared well for this game.”