Every word from Ole's press conference
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has faced the media ahead of Sunday's clash with Brighton & Hove Albion.
The Reds are back in Premier League action this weekend following the international break, which saw goals, assists and potential injury concerns for United.
Ahead of our encounter with the Seagulls at Old Trafford, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was quizzed by journalists about players’ availability for the match against Graham Potter’s side. In addition, Ole was asked about the goalkeeper situation, the development of Aaron Wan-Bissaka and his future plans in terms for the squad in regards to transfers.
Here is every word from the manager during Friday’s pre-match press conference…
United v Brighton: Watch Ole's press conferenceVideo
Can you give us an update on injuries at the moment. There were some doubts over Rashford and Martial, I think he’s come back with an injury from the international break. What’s the latest?
“When you send them away on international duty, you keep your fingers crossed that they’ll be available for you. I don't know about Anthony, he didn't join training this morning. Marcus and Mason trained for the first time this morning. Hopefully, they can get through that today with no reaction for tomorrow. If they complete the session tomorrow, they might be available for selection."
What are your thoughts about facing Brighton? They've picked up form but are still in trouble at the bottom of the table?
“Since I came, we’ve played them quite a few times. We’ve always had some hard-fought games, difficult games. As I said here, to our local channel MUTV as well, when you prepare for a game against Brighton, you can see all our players with wide eyes. We really respect the way they play and the quality that they’ve had against us. We have to be on our best to earn the right to play, because you have to work really hard to get the ball off them.”
In your programme notes, you’ve said you want to have a successful end to the season but obviously, looking ahead, this is a time where you make decisions over players' futures. Are you pretty certain of the players that you want to keep for next season and players who will be allowed to leave before next season?
“Of course, we have a plan ahead. A plan that we think is going to happen. Two months is a long time in football as well, things might change. There’s obviously a couple of players that the future’s not decided yet. Some without contracts, some with contracts. We do have a certain picture of what the squad’s going to look like in August when we start.”
It feels strange putting Paul Pogba’s comments to you after an international break as it’s been rather quiet on that front, he’s just been playing football. He’s got quite a lot of minutes under his belt as well. How is he looking? How do you think he played under the international break and how much of a boost is having him until the end of the season?
“He’ll be a massive boost. He's come back bright and he’s ready to go. We know how important he will be for us and how important he has been. To have players of his quality out for longer periods, that just shows the quality of the others as well that we've done so well. But, of course, at the end of the season now, Paul back fit, getting our forwards, hopefully, firing again. Hopefully we get that spark and score goals again.”
What should we read into the selection of your goalkeeper at the weekend, given Dean played all those games before the break and David obviously having been your no. 1?
“You know, I have the great option of two great goalkeepers. It’s a pleasure to have them here. We got, hopefully, nine plus five games to go. We want to go all the way in the Europa League as well. I’m sure you’ll see both of them playing in goal for us.”
Ole, if I can just ask you about the anti-racism campaign from Manchester United. It’s pretty startling stuff. We’ve heard lots of words before but do you sense there’s a momentum now and that we will see actions where tech companies will take more responsibility and that we are building that positive momentum now?
“We certainly hope so. This campaign is one that will certainly have an impact, it’ll be seen. I’m very proud that we, as a club, that we keep campaigning. You will see that it in the stadium on Sunday as well that we mean business. It’s about time now that actions takes over more than words.
Barcelona will have looked to have made their move for Erling Haaland. Is he a player you can afford to miss out on for a second time?
”Well, I’m focusing on the next two months. Whatever happens in the world of football...there’s only so many places anyone can go to, and I, as I said, focus on the ones that are here. Even though I have worked with Erling, it’s not right for me as a Man United manager talking about Erling. I can talk to him as an ex-coach of his but he will make his own mind up.
The last time you played Brighton, it was a hectic game where you got the winner after the referee blew for the full-time whistle. I asked you at that game about the development of Aaron Wan-Bissaka and you said that he was learning very, very quickly. How has he developed over the course of this season?
“I think he's done remarkably well. His improvement has been there for everyone to see. He’s still defensively as solid and, one on one, he’s still great, but what I like is that he contributes more going forward as well, creating chances, joining in. It’s still very early in his full-back career. I still think that we will see a lot of improvement from Aaron. We do see it in training and on the pitch as well, that’s for everyone to see.”
You managed to manage the situation with Dean and David over the season, giving them opportunities but do you feel you got a decision to make in the summer? A second season where they’re both unsure who’s the no. 1 seems a bit unlikely given that they’re both internationally established keepers now?
“I understand the question and the narrative in the media. Where there's tension or where there can be potential tension or controversy, that's where everyone wants to hear a comment from me. What I can say, as I’ve said so many times, I’ve got great options playing the two of them. They're top keepers but, of course, both of them want to play as much as possible and that will be decided on merit. We have to think about who’s going to give us a win on any given day.”
Highlights: Brighton 2 United 3Video
Are Manchester United a club that will conduct transfer talks very privately rather than having a blow-by-blow account of what’ happening, like we’ve seen in the last 24 hours?
“I think, with how the world works at the moment, you’d like like to do all your business on the quiet. Or your talks on the quiet. There's platforms everywhere, there’s news, the media makes that more difficult. Who can you trust? Hopefully we can suddenly sit here with players no one has written about. We conduct our business and scouting, or the players we are interested in, we do it the right way I hope and feel.”
Just quickly on Henderson and De Gea. Henderson’s had his six games in goal now. Is it fair to say that he’s now the no. 1? And secondly, with all the Haaland talk in the last day or so, given that that seems in motion now with the talks with different clubs, is he still a player that interests you? Do you think that he is someone you will be in for over the next few months?
“Who we are interested in, and who we can and will go for as I just answered, I'm of course not going to comment on that. With Dean and David, same again. The two keepers will be probably needed in these nine plus hopefully five more games. They both know that we value them very highly. It’s a difficult decision to leave one of them out. It’s easy to give them the nod, the difficult one is to leave one out but it’s a good decision to make, so you’ll probably see both of them.”