OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER has told his players to forget about a summer holiday.
The Manchester United boss wants the momentum gained from their 16-match unbeaten run — and the potential glory of winning the FA Cup and Europa League — to carry on into next season.
If they achieve their aims, there will barely be time in any case.
That means the Red Devils will have to forget about their favourite hot spots, pool selfies and Instagram videos as the hard work continues at Old Trafford.
Solskjaer said: “We’re not in a position to give the players the holiday they need and deserve. We’ll probably have to do that during next season.
“We’ve got to find gaps, rotate and give them a week off. It’s going to be more important than ever that we look after the players and rotate.”
The Premier League finishes on July 26 — but United also play Chelsea a week on Sunday for a place at Wembley in the FA Cup final on August 1.
They hold a 5-0 lead from the first leg of their last-16 Europa League tie with Austrians LASK Linz.
If United go all the way to the final, that mini tournament in Lisbon will run from August 10-21.
Throw in a possible Community Shield appearance on August 30 and the restart of the Premier League being proposed for September 12, then there is hardly time to buy the sun cream and shades, never mind head off abroad.
Solskjaer added: “It’s a delicate one, when are you going to give them time? They need a mental and physical break.”
It might be that Solskjaer now uses the international breaks to give those players not involved time off.
Plus early FA Cup dates next season, when he plays a weakened team.
What he does not want, is the foot coming off the pedal after getting the team back on the right track.
They were flying pre-lockdown with an impressive 2-0 win over Manchester City in their last Premier League game in front of a crowd.
The question was whether they could pick up where they left off. But they have done just that and are now close to claiming a Champions League spot.
That would be a reward for the way the players kept themselves fit during lockdown — and kept the spirit in the squad going via Zoom chats.
Solskjaer said: “I think we started the season really well after a good break and they worked well in pre-season.
“Then we did well after the mid-season break in February, now we’ve done well after this lockdown.
“We do have a group I feel can trust. They look after themselves, they stay together on Zoom and WhatsApp.
“They demand of each other, because if one or two let themselves down, they let the team down.
“I feel very happy with the culture in the group. They are good lads and they’re not going to come back 15lb overweight — those days are over.”
Club legend Solskjaer always gives off a laid-back feel but he is a tough boss, claiming their current run is nothing to shout about for Manchester United.
He added: “The last 16 games unbeaten gives us confidence — but it’s nowhere near what a Manchester United team should strive towards.”
Indeed, he has demanded five wins from their last five league games to claim a top-four spot.
That became the scenario after fourth-placed Leicester’s draw at Arsenal on Tuesday night.
The gap to the Foxes is four points now. United’s game in hand is at Villa Park tonight — and they have to face Leicester at the King Power on the last day.
Former striker Solskjaer said: “If you win every single one, then we’re in the top four.
“We cannot rely on help from anyone else — we just have to do it ourselves.
“That helps us grow as a team and to know that, going into next season, we can put a different challenge to other clubs in front of us.”
Solskjaer has named an unchanged starting line-up for the last three Prem games. That might have to change tonight, with Eric Bailly coming in at centre-back for Victor Lindelof, who was taken off at half-time in the 5-2 win over Bournemouth on Saturday with a bad back.
Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba have established themselves as a midfield pairing, with Scott McTominay now on the bench.
But Solskjaer has assured the 23-year-old he has not been forgotten.
He said: “Scott is still a young boy. He is seven or eight years younger than Nemanja and Nemanja has been on record saying how much he can see of himself in Scott.
“They can bounce off each other — but it’s never easy.
“So many times I’ve said to Nemanja, ‘I’m playing Scott today’ and he accepts it. And likewise the other way around, they accept it.
“They can also play together and I’m sure Scotty will learn from Nemanja. With all Scott’s attributes and the way he’s gone about his job, it’s been great.
“There are still so many things to play for — with trophies in the FA Cup and Europa League — plus the top three or four positions in the Premier League.
“The group is very tight-knit — and they all know they have got a part to play.”
MAN UTD (likely): De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Shaw, Matic, Pogba, Fernandes, Greenwood, Rashford, Martial.