Every word from Ole's press conference
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has faced the media ahead of this weekend's Premier League encounter with Everton.
As normal, the boss took time on Friday afternoon to answer questions from journalists ahead of the Premier League encounter. On Saturday, the Toffees travel to the Theatre of Dreams to battle it out for the points, on what is a poignant day for United.
Saturday marks the 63rd anniversary of the Munich Air Disaster. During the press conference, Ole emphasised the importance of putting in a performance to honour those who sadly passed away in 1958.
As well, the Norwegian was asked about the challenge of facing Carlo Ancelotti's side, Joshua King's move to Goodison Park, as well as how United can build on the 9-0 triumph against Southampton in midweek.
Without further ado, here is every word from the boss...
Ole, this will be your 100th Premier League match as a manager. What have you learned in that time and how different a manager are you to the one that started your journey at Cardiff?
"I'm a bit older and wiser hopefully, and lot more grey up top! But I really enjoyed it, of course. I didn’t know it was my 100th game. What you learn is that the game is moving so much quicker, you have got to keep up with the pace of the game. The difference between when I started in 2014 with Cardiff and where it’s come now, it's a different ball game. Of course, players get better and better, fitter and fitter, more tactical. Of course, I’ve enjoyed, not everyone of them, you don’t enjoy the ones when you lose, but you enjoy testing yourself against good coaches and managers"
You’re coming up against another one tomorrow. Carlo Ancelotti hopes that you scored all your goals against Southampton. How impressed are you with the revival that he’s leading at Everton?
“He’s a manager that you really look up to and respect. He's a winner everywhere he’s been. The influence, for example at at PSG when he started there, what he’s done at AC Milan, Chelsea, Real Madrid. You can see roots of that at Everton now as well. They’ve started the season fantastically, now they’ve won their last four away games. It’s a team that you know that you're in for a battle when you play against them.”
How has the group reacted [to the Southampton game]. Obviously there have been some low moments where you’ve had to pick them up or keep them on a level, but you don’t want to get the high I guess after a result like that as well?
"Well, you've got to take the good with the good and the bad with the bad sometimes. You know, what the boys took from that one is that we did the right things, kept good habits. I don’t think anyone will get carried away with the scoreline because we know we played against 10 men for the full game. Of course, that’s demoralising when they lose a player like they did. When we got to 2-0, the game was more or less over. We’ve not mentioned the game at all really, all the focus has been on Everton."
How’s the team looking for Everton? Edinson [Cavani] came off with a knock at half-time but you said that’s a precaution. Is there anyone missing?
"Edinson should be available, yeah, definitely. He got a bad ankle knock there. Eric [Bailly] is a doubt. Apart form that everyone's raring to go"
"Sergio’s working hard, training. He’s in the group. Of course, he lost a lot of training early on in the season. He joined us very late on after having some time back home, and over Christmas as well, he’s had some time back in Argentina with the family. He's working with the keepers. But of course with Dean [Henderson] and Lee [Grant] and David [De Gea], it's been more difficult to get into the match squad."
In terms of tomorrow’s game and then the FA Cup tie, you’ve struggled to string good home performances this season. Is that the key to achieving something tangible, because you don’t want to be losing another six home games, I guess?
"Consistency, of course, is vital. We've done well away from home, we’ve bounced back after the Sheffield United defeat and feel ready to kick on again and move on, hopefully we can get some momentum. We know it’s not going to be easy because we play every two days, or three or four days. But if we can get the consistency, the morale and confidence up, who knows?"
I just wondered if the way they respond to a big result is a challenge and wondered whether if that lesson was learned after the big win against Liverpool? I know there weren’t lots of goals but it was an important win, and this was lots of goals and a big win...
"It's about doing the right things, creating good habits every day on the training pitch. We keep repeating stuff we want to see in the game and in the game against Southampton, we managed to practise a lot of attacking, playing against a 10-man deep block. After scoring one or two, you can just drop your shoulders and enjoy it because the result is there for you. We’ve learned from it and moved on."
A question about Josh King: He’s been linked to almost the entire Premier League for the last year or so, also Man United. Now he’s signed for Everton. What do you think of the signing and what sort of problems can he cause you tomorrow?
"The reason behind him being linked to many teams, and good teams, is because he's a good player. I think Everton have made a good signing. He's just approaching the best time of his career I think. We’ve seen that for Norway, that he’s matured and grown. He’s struggled with Covid, of course, but good move by Everton and good move for Josh. Hopefully, as a Norwegian, we can see him kick on and find his form again, after Saturday night."
Tomorrow’s game will be played on the 63rd anniversary of the Munich Air Disaster. How aware are your players, particularly the younger ones and the staff, about the importance of the disaster in the club’s history?
"It’s only the fourth time it's played on the actual anniversary [in the Premier League]. It’s important that we put on a fitting performance and hopefully we can honour them with a result. It's such an important part of our history and the spirit of the club. We have, of course, spoken to the players who have come in to the club who’ve not been here and been part of this anniversary. It's a big day for everyone, it’s always been an emotional for everyone. Hopefully we can put a team out that shows the Man United spirit. Of course, we have six-seven Academy graduates so hopefully they’ll lead us on."
You spoke last week about how the momentum shifted with the Sheffield United result. You’ve now clearly got the momentum back after the result on Tuesday. How do you keep that going now?
"Keep doing the right things, keep creating good habits, making sure we’re ready for every game. You know, football is strange, it’s so funny. It’ll flick on a decision or and incident and, of course, the sending off gave us the advantage in going to create that scoreline. Sometimes that's football, you can see that in the game for Arsenal [against Wolverhampton Wanderers] as well. You know how football changes quickly with a sending off and a decision, so we just have to build on this. We just have to really thrive. The more games we play in a short space of time, we don't have time to sit back and relax and enjoy the last game. That’s a good thing, because if you sit back and think 'well, we scored nine and that’ll come by itself', it isn’t. We have to make sure we start the game in the same way as we did last time. Against Everton, we face a really hard challenge again."