All the quotes from Ole's press conference
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer answered questions from the press at the Aon Training Complex on Friday morning, ahead of Sunday’s Premier League match at Watford.
The boss spoke about our plans in the January transfer window, updated us on the fitness of Paul Pogba and also touched upon the trend of managers returning to their old clubs.
You can read everything he said below…
Is Paul Pogba fit?
“He's training but he's not been training with us for long so he's training and that's a step forward for us.”
Can you understand why there's all the interest around him?
“Yes, of course, because he's a fantastic player, a charismatic personality. And for us we're happy that he's here.”
Do you understand as well the interest in Erling Braut Haaland and people asking about him? There are reports he's flying to Manchester…
“I don't think he's en route here to be fair. Not through me anyway. You know I can't comment on other teams' players. I've said that many a time. That's just one of those things in this job, you get so much speculation all the time.”
Are you hopeful of signing someone next month?
“Yes. As a manager you always hope you can do something but then again it's not something that's nailed on. It has to be the right player, the right age, he's got to fit into this squad and for the right value. We're always looking and the transfer window will be open but it might not happen. We're getting players back. We're getting Paul back, we're getting Timothy back, Eric Bailly back, Diogo back. So that's four extra bodies for us for the coming months anyway.”
When do you expect those four players to be available for action?
“Diogo's playing tonight in the game for the youngsters so from then on he's ready. Eric, Tim and Paul probably need a little bit more time.”
What kind of ankle injury did Paul have? It must have been a serious one to keep him out for a while?
“Yes it was something that really needed sorting. But I don't think I should give you all the medical information, that's not down to me. But he's now feeling good, he's getting better so it's worked.”
With regard to Paul and your midfield resources, there's no way at all he could be sold in January?
“He's not getting sold in January, no.”
With regard to midfielders coming in, would you look to strengthen there because you have said previously you are light in that area?
“Nemanja's back and Paul's coming back so of course we're not as light as we were say a month ago. So I can't say yes or no but we're looking stronger. When we started the season I was happy with the midfield I had.”
With Haaland, they're saying he's been seen getting on a flight to Manchester with his dad. Are you saying he's not coming to Manchester today?
“He's not coming to Manchester. I know the boy and I know his friends. He's on a Christmas holiday.”
[On holiday] in Manchester?
“Well, you can't fly anywhere from Stavanger, can you? So you need to go via [somewhere else].”
Ole, you've started a trend of players going back to manage their old clubs. Does it give you a headstart if you know the club already?
“Yes, I think so. If you know the DNA of the club, if you know the culture in the club, if you've been here, especially in periods when the club's done well, you see what the culture is in the club. I think that's important. You build on what's been going well and improve on what you think you should be improved. Probably the best example is Guardiola and what he did with the Barcelona team.”
Ole on the prospect of January transfersVideo
Cameras are always on managers these days. You're not one to be jumping up and down in technical areas but how much of an issue is it now with managers being centre stage in every match?
“Well it's what you make it out to be. For me, it's about the players, it's about trusting them and making them the centre of it because without good players, without having them in a good state, you're no good as a manager. That's just me. We're all different and sometimes I'm up there, sometimes I'm sat down. It depends on the game as well.”
What can you do and what can Paul do to end these questions that we keep giving you every week? It feels a lot like the Lukaku situation when we keep being told he's close to a return and then he's sold...
“When he comes back, play well and play with a smile on his face and do what he did a year ago when I came here. Paul was fantastic. he's been fantastic when he's played for us. We know we've got one of the best players in the world, when he's playing well, when he gets fit. He needs time to get fit of course but he'll make a difference for us.”
Will he play before the end of the year?
“Well I hope so, still. Let's see how he feels. I'm not going to push him of course. [It's about] how he feels his ankle is. We need him to be 100 per cent fit. I can't risk any setbacks with the injury.”
Solskjaer: every manager is differentVideo
If he is to go, would it definitely not be mid-season then? Will he be here until the end of the season?
“If, if... it's all hypothetical. I've just answered. He's not going to go.”
Is there a chance of any outgoings in January?
“Yes, there's always a chance of it. I can say with 99.9 per cent sureness that they won't go but there's always teams who will come and be interested in some of ours. Maybe they haven't played enough so of course there may be a chance.”
Are you worried that Gomes and Chong still haven't signed contracts and can negotiate with foreign clubs next month?
“Well, both of them are players we want to keep. I think they're good talents. They've had a couple of niggles and injuries so I haven't been able to play them as much as I would like. Angel for example has been ill now for a few weeks. He's had a bad ankle. But they're talents and they're Man United people.”
Do you feel the squad needs strengthening if you're going to compete on all fronts?
“As I've just said, we're getting four players back who we've not been able to use so that will strengthen our squad both in numbers and quality.”
Is there any chance you'll see Haaland before he gets on that connecting flight?
You've obviously celebrated your year anniversary. A year of all these questions and a year of being on the touchline. Has any of it given you more respect for what Sir Alex did?
“Yes of course but I've always had respect for what he has done. He's the best manager of all time. But of course the way I have looked at him from up close as a player and as a coach with the reserves... as I just said to James there in the interview, you don't fly off in the sky when you're doing well and you don't dig yourself a big hole when you're not doing well. You all know me as well. You're not going to see me desperately change my mood if we're doing well or we're not doing well.”
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