Read every word from the boss before Chelsea

Friday 23 October 2020 11:09

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer faced the national media for the second time in a week, for Friday's pre-match press conference.

After Tuesday's excellent victory in Paris, the Reds return to Premier League action at the weekend when we host Chelsea.

Ahead of the much-anticipated clash, the boss was quizzed via video link about a number of topics, including his thoughts on the Blues' summer spending, Donny van de Beek, our home form and Marcus Rashford.

See below for every word from the first-half of the media briefing...

United v Chelsea: Solskjaer's press conference Video

United v Chelsea: Solskjaer's press conference

Ole discusses Donny van de Beek, Mason Greenwood, injuries, form and more in his latest media briefing...

You’ve had two fantastic team performances against Newcastle and PSG, how important do you think that was for the belief and confidence for your side?
“Of course it’s very important. If you lose games you’re determined and want to win the next one; you want to bounce back. I could see that focus before the Newcastle game and, of course, if you win against PSG that gives you more belief and confidence. Two very good performances and results, but now is the next game and that’s what we’re focused on.”

It’s Chelsea next and they’ve made a lot of changes over the summer - how would you assess their start to the season?
“Well, like many of us, there’s been some very good games and some less good performances. Football is just settling now and I think teams are getting into their shape. It’s going to be a tough game against Chelsea - we had four games against them last season, I think maybe four or five the season before, so it’s two teams that know each other really well.”
We haven’t seen an awful lot of Donny van de Beek yet - he hasn’t started a Premier League game yet. Is that down to fitness, competition for places, or just an integration process?
“Donny is fit enough. Of course, it’s competition for places, it’s giving him time to settle in and to adjust to his new team-mates. It’s a new league and he’s a top footballer, a top personality; he’s so humble and hard working. But, of course, [he’s] eager to play more. As I’ve said so many times, you’ll see him throughout the season - it’s going to be a long season and he’s impressed me.”

I wanted to ask you about Mason Greenwood, hopefully he’s fit. You’ve played alongside people at Manchester United who are going to be the next big thing, you know the pressures that come with that. Take us through the process the club goes through to make sure that’s smooth and that some of the pressures are made easier…
“I think in the club we have a great record and tradition and history of bringing our players through. It means from early on they have good habits, we trust you, you can express yourself. Mason has come through this programme and has done fantastic. He’ll be kicking on, I’m sure. Of course, he’s a very exciting boy to work with.”

Are you a little bit concerned that he’s making a bit of a target for himself?
“Mason? Well, you do when you play well. I’m not concerned at all of Mason making a target for himself because he’s come in and done fantastic. He made his first league start against Tottenham last season and he’s just kicked on. Yeah, he made a mistake this summer with England and suddenly the English press go after him. That’s something we have to look after. He’s a fantastic boy to work with. I have to disappoint you, he’s never late for training; he’s never a problem when he’s on the training ground. He’s always on time; I’ve seen some of the stories and even some ex-United players talking about him and they don’t really know what they’re talking about. We’ve got photographers outside the training ground every day, so you can see he’s on time. I don’t know where these stores have come from and I just have to say he has a good family around him. He has a good background in the Academy and he’s a good trainer. I can’t believe all these stories about about him not being professional. Anyway, that’s something we have to deal with. Many other players at United have had that.”
In terms of your team, you’ve had a fabulous week and that’s 10 [wins] in a row now away from home, but only one win in five at home, including last season. Two bad performances at home. What is the difference between playing away and playing at home? You’ve got three big games coming up…
“I disagree with 10 in a row because we lost to Chelsea and Sevilla in the semi-finals. They were two away games for me anyway - okay, two neutral. No, we need to address our home form. We need to look at how we prepare maybe. It’s maybe something I can deal with. The whole lockdown period has made us do things differently at home. We might have to do it a different way.”

You were obviously missing a few players the other night - is Harry Maguire available? Will Mason come back in? And what’s the situation with Edinson Cavani, will he be available to play tomorrow?
“I hope and expect all three of them to be available for selection. We’ve got a training session this morning, but they’ve got a chance, all of them. Edinson, he wants to tick all the boxes that he’s gone through in his programme and be ready to make an impact. I think his last preparation will be today and then we’ll have a discussion with him. It seemed positive yesterday for Mason and Harry, so hopefully.”
Marcus was the talk of the town in Paris and continues to be off the field. Is there anything else you can say about him and the work he does?
“Probably not, but he’s now at the stage… we all speak about Marcus as this experienced boy and he’s 23 soon. It’s a twilight from being a talent to being experienced and you can see more of his experience coming out. We hope, and we trust, that Marcus’s background with his family will keep him developing and kick on in his career because around about now is the time you’ll see him, hopefully, divide himself from being a good player, to be a very, very good player."

I guess that you have observed what’s going on with the Norwegian national team right now. With the inside leak and the public discussions between Alexander Sorloth, I’m just wondering, regardless of what team it is, how damaging is this sort of leak? And what do you think of this particular case?
“I can’t comment on this particular case, but in a group and a team you’re like a family and you’ve got to say you’re disappointed if some things come out of the dressing room, especially if they’re true. I’ve had many stories leaking out of the United dressing room which aren’t true. That’s a different story, making stories up. But when it’s confirmed from inside discussions, I’m sure the national team leaders and coaches are disappointed.
Highlights: PSG 1 United 2 Video

Highlights: PSG 1 United 2

In October 2020, we once again beat PSG in France, thanks to goals from Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford...

It’s the first game back at Old Trafford since the 6-1 defeat - would victory erase the memory of that and almost complete the comeback of that day?
“I don’t think anything will erase that memory because it will always be in the history books. We’ve always got to live with having that result and that performance. You can look back at that performance and the different reasons why we ended up with that result. But we’ve got to focus on moving on and going forward. It’s happened so many times at this club where you’ve had results that maybe come out of the blue, or setbacks that you have to bounce back from. So far, we’ve bounced back well, but now it’s about consistency.”

Can I ask about Axel [Tuanzebe] after the way he played, how he’s been training and what his future is likely to be now after so many injuries?
“It was a great performance by a kid who has not played for 10 months. I’m delighted for him because he’s such a professional character. He wants everything; he works really hard, he’s been really thorough in his rehab. I’m very pleased for him. Now to get the consistency in his performances, he has to stay injury-free and we need to manage that. That’s mine and his job, and the physio staff as well, of course. I think he can kick on, he’s such a leader. He can play centre-back, right-back, he can play centre-midfield; he can play many positions. He’s a boy who takes responsibility for his own development. Now it’s about making sure he’s doing everything he can to have a long career at United. Hopefully he can get this consistency."

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