Every word from Ole's pre-match press conference
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer spoke to the media shortly after his Manchester United side beat Fulham on Wednesday night, as the Reds' attentions now switch to the FA Cup and another battle with Liverpool.
Ole is expecting another tough match - something he feels his side keep getting in Cup draws and he answered questions from the press ahead of the game.
Here's every word from Ole's media briefing...
Watch Ole's pre-Liverpool FA Cup briefingVideo
Ole, I know you’ve only just played Liverpool but are you expecting anything different from them and how much of your squad are you expecting to rotate?
“We’ll rotate that’s for sure, but we’ll put a decent team together of course and a team that I feel can win the game. Of course the focus is now on the FA Cup. We know it’s a difficult tie, I’m not the best on draws, I think they should try to get someone else in if they want an easy draw!” [Smiles]
Can you explain further on the situation with Victor Lindelof and is there anyone else who might not make the game on Sunday?
“Victor will be fine for the weekend. It was just too quick a turnaround we felt with the travel with his back. I wanted to play Eric against Fulham and Victor wasn’t ready anyway, so we now have four days extra [for Victor]. He got some treatment [on Wednesday] and did some light training so he should be ready for the weekend.”
People always talk about Liverpool’s front three and they’ve got Jota as well. But do you always feel your front three are a match for anybody? You’ve got a lot of different strengths there and a lot of pace…
“I’m very happy with my forwards. You’ve got talents like Mason and Marcus and Anthony and the experience of Edinson. It’s great to see them every day in training and in the games they complement each other. They’ve all got different attributes. We know this season Marcus has scored about 14/15 goals and Anthony, Mason and Edi will definitely chip in and score goals. Last season Anthony, Marcus and Mason scored I don’t know how many – 60 ish – so we’ve got a front three or four, well those three for many, many years, and Edi can help with his experience for the time that he’s here.”
Is that part of the DNA of United that you’ve got players who can get you goals when you need them?
“I used to play in a decent team and the gaffer had four centre-forwards at least to choose from and with the four front men we’ve got, we have players to choose from who can get us goals in any game against any opposition. I’m very pleased with the ones I’ve got and we’re working hard to get the relationships with all of them so we can use them in different ways and sometimes maybe all four of them will play.”
Ole, this is your fourth game as a manager against Liverpool with United. Given the chances you had last weekend and the injuries Liverpool have, do you think you’ll be more adventurous this time?
“We attacked every time we got the ball [last weekend], maybe too much and we kept giving it away, that was the challenge. We went forward too quickly. The thought that we weren’t attacking is, for me, completely something I don’t understand. We kept giving it away – it was the quality of what we did that we need to do better. We tried to press them high which wasn’t easy and they played well. They played their way out of our press. We didn’t go there to drop deep and try to soak up the pressure. They had five midfielders out there, plus a keeper who is very capable. To be fair when you look at it, I think it was a good game from both teams. We played against a top Liverpool team, yes van Dijk was not there but everyone has an injury here or there. I was very pleased with the performance when I looked at it afterwards.”
Just how important is it for United to get some silverware and have that winning feeling spread throughout the group to give them confidence to really start an era of success here?
“Of course you want to get your hands on a first trophy, but it’s always the league position which is the measure of how far you’ve come. Anyone can have an easy cup run – I’m not one of those, I never get an easy cup run! I’m never going to watch another draw again, we always seem to pick out the difficult opponents! [Smiles] In a cup run you can sometimes get to a final without really playing any of the top ones. This time around we’re drawn with one of the favourites and we know this is a big one if you want to go all the way.”
The players were caught offside a few times against Liverpool and the same happened against Fulham. Is this to do with the execution [of the runs] and is there some fine-tuning needed? Is it to do with how eager your attackers are?
“They’re eager of course but it’s also a way we want to attack – we want to attack quickly. It’s not that you have to attack quickly every time, it’s a decision they’ve got to make there and then. Of course it’s in our DNA that if you see a pass, then do it, but of course do it well. I didn’t think we executed the passes well enough. Some of the runs maybe were too eager especially at Anfield. I felt one or two times we could have easily been one-on-one with the keeper so for us it’s about fine-tuning and getting better, and getting used to each other. Edinson is new, Bruno hasn’t been here a year yet, but we’ll get there.”
Is it therefore about creating situation awareness and on-pitch chemistry in the matches, as much as it is the work you do at the training ground?
“Yeah. You can do loads of work and we do loads of work… but it’s about taking a moment in a game and I feel we’re getting there. It’s always been in the DNA of United that we attack quickly, we go fast and we have quick players who want to get up the pitch quickly. When you get up the pitch sometimes the decision might be to slow it down and play in their half, not just going for the killer pass. They’re the little things we’re trying to fine-tune of course.”
Aaron Wan-Bissaka seems to be making great strides, but it also seems like there are areas of his game positionally that he could work on as a right-back. How much more do you think he can improve, defensively in particular?
“I think Aaron is one of the best one-against-one defensive full-backs in the world. I think he’s getting better and better on the ball, he doesn’t give the ball away a lot. He’s not been asked to venture forward much earlier in his career, last season was a learning one for him. You see Luke [Shaw] who is two or three years older and he’s really hitting good form now. Aaron, of course, has the time ahead of him and we’ll give him time. In a year or two you’ll see a top, top full-back there.”
In ’99 you beat Liverpool in the fourth round at home and you got the winner. How much momentum can a team get from winning a game like that and is there anything from ’99 that you can transpose into this season?
“Of course we can take a few things from that season. We know that there are tight moments and very fine margins and we know in that season we were close to going out against Liverpool then Peter Schmeichel saved a penalty from Dennis Bergkamp in a semi-final in injury-time and I think those moments gave us the mental advantage, especially in the semi-final. Against Liverpool as well in that fourth-round game, when you get that boost of turning 1-0 down into a 2-1 win against a big team it was massive for us. The FA Cup is a run we’ve got to enjoy as long as it lasts. We got to the semis last year and, as I said, we’re going to make a few changes, but I’ll put a team out there that I hope can go through.”