Manchester United players stayed in a hotel on Friday night ahead of their Premier League fixture against Chelsea at Old Trafford.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer instigated a change of plans, with United’s players not staying in a hotel before home games since the Manchester derby in March.
But the manager is keen to foster a stronger spirit within his squad and with players currently forced to use separate dressing rooms and meetings at a premium, Solskjaer felt a stay at The Lowry Hotel and a pre-match meal on Friday night would help achieve that.
“We stayed in a hotel, I’m pretty sure the wives and the girlfriends are not happy with me. We want to stay together as a group. Away at Newcastle and away at Paris the atmosphere has been good,” Solskjaer told MUTV.
“Sometimes people tend to forget that it’s different now building a team. One of the strengths is aways that we’ve been a family, close together. We don’t share dressing rooms now, we can’t have meetings for as long, so it’s a chance to at least have 15 minutes eating together, so we felt that was the right way to go tonight.”
Solskjaer has named the same team that won 4-1 at Newcastle a week ago. That means Axel Tuanzebe is only on the bench after his fine display in Paris, while Alex Telles doesn’t make the matchday squad at all, although the Brazilian’s absence is unexplained at this stage.
“Sometimes you need to reward good performances. Tuesday night was also a good performance but we felt this time could kick on and give us a good foothold in the game, cause some problems for the opposition,” said Solskjaer.
“I’d rather have that than be scratching around and having no players. To disappoint a few players once in a while is better than having to play players when they’re not ready.”