Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Every word from Ole's pre-City press conference

Friday 05 November 2021 14:09

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has met with the media ahead of Saturday’s derby clash with Manchester City in the Premier League.

The Reds will be looking to build on momentum picked up from results at Tottenham and Atalanta in recent days, when Pep Guardiola’s Blues are the visitors to M16 for the 12:30 GMT kick-off. 

Prior to the match – our final one before the November international break – Solskjaer answered questions from reporters as part of his usual Friday media duties, with topics including our latest team news, his record against Pep Guardiola and the significance of the Manchester derby.

We have collated every word from the Norwegian’s press conference, conducted via video link, for you to read below…
Press Conference: Man City (H) Video

Press Conference: Man City (H)

Getting ready for the 186th Manchester derby with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's press conference...

Hi Ole, last time you stepped out at Old Trafford, it was the darkest day, in your words, you’ve had at Manchester United. How much do you think the players have managed to get that result and experience out of their system ahead of the weekend, [before] stepping out at Old Trafford again?
“We've moved on from that one, of course it's going to be in the history books, but we’ve had a good week with good results away from home in difficult games and the mindset is positive. Of course, we have to go into this game believing we can do good things. It’s a local derby and everyone knows what’s at stake.”

Speaking about the Manchester derby, obviously it’s a huge game for the people of Manchester, and City and United fans. You’ve had many experiences of it, a lot of your players have as well. How special is this game and how important is it? Is it bigger than Liverpool these days?
“It's a special one of course, the last time we had a Manchester derby with fans in the stadium the atmosphere was electric. I think everyone will still remember that one probably more so than any dark moments we’ve had. When Scott [McTominay] scored that winning goal in extra time, it was a special moment. We know it’s a one-off game, it’s one of those you have to start on the front foot, start ready, because a lot of it depends who gets on the front foot.” 
There was also a team meal this week after the Atalanta game. I just wonder how useful an exercise that was for team bonding and how it all came about?
“The team is very close together and they know they need each other, it's team bonding, and the team spirit is important. We've got a great canteen up here as well, but they're [the players] probably fed up of Mike's [the chef's] food!”

I also wanted to check on how [Raphael] Varane is. How long [will he be] out, do you think? And how much of a problem does it cause you again?
“With all the technology now, you expect him to be out four or five weeks with the scans and the pictures we’ve seen of him. Of course, it's a blow for us. Raphael has come in and been really, really influential, but Eric [Bailly] came in last time and was excellent, so that’s why you have big squads: so you can cope with absentees sometimes.” 

Ole's team news for Manchester derby


The Reds boss supplies an update about a couple of doubts ahead of the big clash with City.

Just on the injuries, how is Victor [Lindelof]? 
“He's still a doubt but hopefully he can come back in tomorrow and say that he's ready. I would expect him to be ready, put it that way, but I can't promise you.”

Just on Cristiano [Ronaldo], obviously, before you signed him, there was a lot of talk he might go to Man City and that clearly didn’t happen. What kind of an influence is he and how much of a difference can he make to your team in terms of where you finish this season, because people say he can be a negative, even though he scores so many important goals…
“He's one of the best players that's ever walked on this planet and his impact so far, on and off the pitch, has been absolutely immense. The goals he scores, the way he conducts himself in and around the place. So, how people can say that is a negative, I can't see that one. We’re really, really pleased he has started off as well as he has, but that’s what he does. He scores goals, he works for his team, and he's a top, top professional.”

Solskjaer baffled by Ronaldo criticisms


The boss has laughed off suggestions that Cristiano might be "a negative" for his United team.

Going back to that Liverpool game, you have been under what seems like constant pressure since that defeat, with speculation around your future and your position. How is it working under those kind of circumstances and how important do you feel the result is in this derby game also, in terms of your own future?
“When I stepped in the doors here in December 2018, three years ago, there's been speculation ever since so that's no problem. We've moved on from the Liverpool game. Of course, it’s always going to be there as a dark moment in our careers, but we’ve had a good week, we've had two good results away from home and we're ready for this game. You don't expect an easy ride when you become manager of Man United, so that's how it is.”

Your head-to-head [record] against Pep Guardiola is probably one of the best since he came into the Premier League. Is that something that you think about, or do you forget it and move onto this derby, obviously at the weekend?
“You look at the next game. I'm not one to talk about what I’ve done. I’ve got a great respect and admiration for Pep and what he's done. We've had a few good results against them, we’ve had some good games, tight games, and we need another performance like this. Sometimes you need luck, and we know this is a game where we'll have to work hard and suffer a lot, but we have to believe in ourselves, we have to trust ourselves. We're at home, as you say, we've had a few good results and let’s hope that continues, but we don’t take that for granted. We need to earn it.”