Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says the increased workload he is demanding of Manchester United’s players is partly responsible for the recent spate of injuries.
United could be without nine senior players for Wednesday’s Premier League game at Crystal Palace.
This includes Juan Mata, Ander Herrera and Jesse Lingard, who all injured hamstrings in the draw with Liverpool.
“It’s probably linked, yes,” said United’s caretaker manager, when asked about the connection.
Under former boss Jose Mourinho, United’s running statistics – both in terms of distance covered and sprints made – were some of the lowest in the Premier League.
Solskjaer has tried to do something about that but the drive to do more has come at a cost.
Nemanja Matic, Phil Jones, Antonio Valencia, Anthony Martial and Matteo Darmian are also out of the game at Selhurst Park, while Marcus Rashford faces a fitness test on the ankle injury he sustained in the opening minutes of Sunday’s game when he was tackled by Jordan Henderson.
Although United’s overall running stats have gone down – from 108.1km per game for the entire team when Mourinho was in charge this season, to 107.7km under Solskjaer – United’s total sprints under the Norwegian have increased from 98.6 to 108.6 per game.
Solskjaer said: “When do you make the change? Do you wait until pre-season and think you will change results by not asking them to run. Or do we start now and show them what the demands of intensity are and how we want to play?
“You have seen what I have chosen. We need to play as a Manchester United team. If you want to be a part of Manchester United, it’s a survival of the fittest isn’t it?”