Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Every word from Ole's pre-Spurs press conference

Friday 29 October 2021 14:08

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer addressed the media during his pre-match press conference on Friday afternoon ahead of Manchester United’s trip to Tottenham Hotspur.

The Reds will make the journey down to the capital for Saturday’s Premier League meeting with the London club, targeting a strong response to last weekend’s diffiicult defeat to Liverpool. 

With just over 24 hours to go until the fixture at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Solskjaer responded to questions from journalists on our last outing, the week in training since that match and how preparations have gone for the game against Nuno Espirito Santo’s side, while also providing the latest team news and more. 

Below, you can read every word from the manager’s latest media briefing…

Hi Ole, you described Sunday as your darkest day and I just wonder whether the days following it, with all the external pressure you have faced personally, and also the stuff you’ve had to try and sort out on the training ground internally, if it has been your toughest week to date in the United job?
“It's been a difficult week, of course. We've had to deal with the result and performance against Liverpool, which we know wasn't good enough and that's something footballers that have to deal with, that’s why we’re in this game and you have to look forward to the next game. You have to make sure you're ready for that game, and, when you get to that game, sort it out – what has been challenging and the problems earlier on. We've had a good week, a good week on the training field, I have to say that.”

Press Conference: Tottenham (A) Video

Press Conference: Tottenham (A)

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer addresses the media ahead of United's trip to Tottenham...

You said, after the game last week, that your players need to sort their frames of mind out going into the next game, obviously being against Tottenham, in the right frame of mind. Are you confident your players are in the right frame of mind after the good week you’ve had?
“As I said, we need a reaction. It's my job as well to put the players in the right frame of mind. I'm responsible for the reaction, for the result, for the performance. We've worked on the pitch on everything that needs to be sorted for a footballer and that's not just one thing, that’s not just frame of mind, that’s approach going into the game, strategy going into the game, game-plan, tactics, technically. We’ve had a good week and I feel that the boys are ready to give their best, as they always do. Of course, nothing went to plan [last week] and that was nowhere near our best.”

It’s part of club legend isn’t it that Sir Alex Ferguson survived a similarly precarious position and went on to win the trophies he did. I know he was at the training ground this week, did you get the chance to speak to him and do you believe you can survive a similarly precarious position and go on to be successful?
“Yes, on both accounts. That’s short and sweet. We had a commercial day and Sir Alex came to do some commercial stuff and I met him and spoke to him yeah, just for a brief moment. He was in there with Cristiano [Ronaldo]. You know, I've been some through some very bad moments here as a player and when I’ve been a coach and a manager as well, I’ve had to deal with setbacks, there's probably been two or three crises at least since I became the manager here but one thing I'll say is I'll always give it a good shot and fight back.”
What’s the pressure like, what’s this week been like for you? Does it compare to those really bad moments you had when you were injured as a player or do you just try and keep normal, keep focused? Obviously, there’s all the external pressure, does it affect you, does it affect your family?
“I think it affects everyone around, of course. I spoke about it last week, I think Mikel [Arteta] said something about what we have to deal with, managers in high-profile situations, it's what we've got used to. For me, I'm as focused as ever. I’ve come in and I’ve had players coming up to me. So for example, I don’t tend to read social media, but Paul [Pogba] came up to me angry. We expect to be criticised, hands up, the performance wasn't good enough, you expect to hear it from right, left, centre but we can't accept when lies are being made up. Paul came to me and told me what he's put on his social media account. We’re better than that as a group. The culture is better here, the environment is better. When it's blatant lies, they've got to stand up and say so. All the opinions and reports, fine, but don't make up lies about the players or me.”

Just want to follow up on that because the rumour mill always seems to pick up pace whenever Man United are in difficult periods and, this week, we’ve been able to read about a dressing room in disintegration almost, and we’ve been able to read you’re clinging on to your job. How do you see that being written on social media and in the press over the last week and how much of it is actually true?
“You know, I think I’ve just answered that. You know, the players come in – they’re proper professionals, good players, good people. They come in and do their best. As I said, the environment in and around the place here, we have loads of respect for each other. Sometimes, when you come in for criticism like we do, you get into the trenches with your team-mates and that’s the reaction I’ve seen this week. This club, with whatever we’ve been through before, it’s always about getting through with courage, togetherness, teamwork, self-belief and sticking together. This group has done.”

Solskjaer feels Reds will have right response article

The boss lists five things that are done at United in order to deal with situations like these.

This week, has there been a few home truths, not just from yourself but from the players?
“Of course, you have to hold your hands up and that performance is not acceptable. And you’ve got to look at why it wasn’t acceptable and why it went as it did. I use the analogy that it felt like we were a boxer, being punch-drunk, getting knocked down in the first four minutes or in the first round. You know we had a chance, we conceded a goal and we wanted to sort it out. We went a bit too open and a bit too frantic against a good team. You see Tyson Fury, when he gets knocked down a few times. It’s remarkable and it’s how calm and composed he is, when he’s on the floor. He counts to six, seven, eight and then he’s ready to get up and go again. Maybe we got up too early and tried to sort it. Minds have to be better but of course we’ve had to look at different things as well. You have to be up front and honest. The communication has to be direct.”

Just wondering if we could get a team news check for the Spurs game? Are [Raphael] Varane and [Anthony] Martial fit to be involved and is there any change from the squad last week?
“Of course Paul is suspended but apart from that it’s a fully fit squad. Which is a very strange position to be in, to have 25 outfield players and five keepers training. Thirty men training this week, all fit.”