The coronavirus pandemic forced the English top flight to be suspended in March.
But even though Britain’s official virus death toll has now topped 40,000, ‘Project Restart’ is set to see the Premier League get going again, with United returning to action away to Tottenham Hotspur on June 19.
United face fellow European qualification hopefuls Sheffield United on June 24, with the FA Cup quarter-final at Norwich and league match at Brighton following soon afterwards.
With games coming thick and fast, Premier League clubs have agreed managers will be able to make up to five substitutions per match from an expanded nine-strong bench as a way of helping sides cope with a three-month backlog of fixtures.
“I think that’s helpful because footballers, after being out for so long, going into competitive games will be a challenge for them and we have to look after them injury-wise and fitness-wise,” United manager Solskjaer told the club’s website.
“We can’t just flog one player and say to them, ‘you play every game and every minute’ because it might be a period when we have to rotate quite often.”
United are currently three points adrift of a place in next season’s Champions League, and Solskjaer said: “It does feel like a new season but then again, the first two games against Tottenham and Sheffield United are vital for the league standings, the table.
“And it’s a short season, it’s only nine (league) games so can we get as many points and good performances as possible. If we do get a good spell now, we could end up with some trophies and something to cheer about. It’s a young team with some great talent, some great work-rate, personalities... the human qualities in the group are fantastic.”
The enforced suspension has allowed the likes of Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford to regain fitness following ankle and back injuries respectively. But former United striker Solskjaer was cautious about their prospects of playing against Spurs.
“Well, we hope everybody’s going to be ready for the first game. We’ve had time out so I don’t think we can expect that those lads who’ve missed lots of the football can last the full game,” he said.