Pre-match press conference: Rashford & Solskjaer preview Milan

Wednesday 17 March 2021 13:41

Marcus Rashford and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer have been speaking to the press ahead of Manchester United's trip to AC Milan this Thursday.

With the score finely poised at 1-1 after the first leg of the last-16 Europa League clash last week, the pair were asked for their thoughts ahead of the reverse fixture at the San Siro.

See below for every word from their pre-match media briefing.

Questions for Marcus Rashford

How are you feeling now and how much are you looking forward to the match?

"It's a massive game for us and I'm feeling positive and optimistic. In the first performance we  showed that we can do well in tough positions, but now, going to the San Siro, we're looking for a dominant display and ultimately score goals."

We understand you have a shoulder problem - could it require surgery after the Euros?

"I just focus on the next game at hand and that's how I deal with it. What's needed after we'll deal with that after, but my main focus is just to be available for the games."
How would you rate your form this season?
"Every single year is different and as players the only thing we can do is give ourselves the best chance which is by preparing, training well and going into the game positive, even if you're tired or fatigued. That's the atmosphere the manager has brought to the club. The players are happy with that and we understand that every game isn't going to go as planned."

What would it mean to go on and win this competition?
"That's the aim when we unfortunately got kicked out of the Champions League, the focus was to win the Europa League. Anything less than that and I know the team, manager, staff aren't going to be happy with that. We're going to do our best to win this competition."
Are you worried about burnout or the impact of playing through injuries?

"I know my body and I know what I can do physically and that's it. I take one game at a time and it's the life of footballer. We can rest when we retire and for now I want to play as much as I can. I recover from games quite well and from injuries I have no doubts, so I have no worries."
What impact did Zlatan Ibrahimovic have on your career and are there comparisons with Bruno Fernandes?

"Yeah you could say so. Mentally, they are both so strong and they want to win games. That's the atmosphere and the culture at this club, so we need to start doing it now; we need to start winning trophies and take steps in that direction. The game tomorrow is an opportunity for us to take one step forward."

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer questions

Who is staying and who is travelling to Milan, from the likes of David De Gea, Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial?

"There are a couple we need to assess if they're available. Martial is a definite no go. Apart from that, we're assessing them as we speak, so some might travel still needing to confirm they're available still."

Can you say whether Pogba, Edinson Cavani and Donny van de Beek will play? Would you comment on the rumours about van de Beek being unhappy?
"There's always speculation here. As I said, we're assessing them. They've been involved in the training session and let's see tomorrow if there is any reaction or not. They all trained yesterday, trained today and hopefully there's no reaction today. Donny has been focusing really hard, working really hard to get back for the latter stages of the season now, so that's our focus."
What's the situation with Eric Bailly and Shola Shoretire not travelling? How long can we expect Martial to be out for and would you be tempted to play De Gea tomorrow?
"Shola will be playing for the Under-23s so we felt it was right for him. Eric being assessed and with regards to the decision-making on what team we are going to play, let's see how everyone is tomorrow."

How does the San Siro compare as one of the best stadiums?
"I think I only played once in a friendly at San Siro. I was mostly a spectator watching. Fantastic stadium with history and when it's full, it's an incredible place to play. We're going to, unfortunately, play it in a different type of atmosphere. We're going to familiarise ourselves with the stadium tonight, just have a little walk so the boys can have a feel of their surroundings."
Does Diogo Dalot have a future at United?
"Yeah, he does. The plan was always for Diogo this season to... well, the main thing for Diogo was to be fit. He never managed to be fit for a long spell when he was here with the injures. Now he has kept fit all season, he has been available for them. He's played at a big club with big expectations, a great club. So it's been a good year for him. Of course, I've been very pleased with with his development this season and he is our player and we're looking forward to getting him back."
How do you your measure progress as a team?
"I think you have to say that when you see the culture of what's happening every day, I feel a lot of improvement in the everyday routine, the everyday work. The boys have taken on everything I want. It's for others to assess how much we've improved. We're 12 points ahead of where we were in the league this time last season. Of course, we are all wanting to win trophies at this club. But sometimes a trophy can hide the other fact of what is happening at the club. It's in the league position you see if you're progressing really. Sometimes in the cup tournaments you might be lucky, you might be unlucky with draws and games that are decided on different factors. But, of course, we're aiming to win; that's what's required in football and you're always aiming to win trophies."

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Can Cavani's experience of the San Siro help the team?
"Edinson has trained for a couple of days now and we're still assessing him. When he's in and around the club, his experience and his influences on all the others is great. He always tries to help everyone. When it comes to a game, the lads look to him. Hopefully there is no reaction to the training sessions he's had in the last few days and he's available."

What do you think a win could provide to the season?
"Well, we saw the game last week and how difficult it was. [They're] a physical side with loads of energy, good quality in the team. We need to perform at our best levels and we know that. We've never been too lucky with draws, but these are the games our players need to challenge themselves to see if they can really reach the next level. Tomorrow night is going to be about loads of things: you need the quality, you need the experience, you need the game management and a good start. Being away from home, I always enjoy being away from home in second leg because if you score a goal if means so much. We know now that they scored one, so we need to score at least one to go through."
It's four years since United last won a trophy, is that a surprise to you?

"I have been here for two-and-half of those years now and, of course, coming in, as I've said so many times, I felt a big rebuild had to be made. It's in the league position that you see if there has been progress, for me. That's always the bread and butter of the season and you see how capable you are of coping with ups and downs. Maybe a cup run can give you a trophy, but sometimes it's more of an ego thing for managers and clubs: 'we've finally won something'. We need to see progress and, in the cup, if we perform well enough, the trophies will end up at the club again. But it's not like a trophy will say that we're back. No, it's the gradual progression and the consistency of being top of the league, in and around there, and then the odd trophy. Sometimes, a cup competition can hide the fact that you are still struggling a little bit."
Are some managers designed to be good cup managers?
"Every manager wants to win every game and we want to fight on every front. Then it comes to a point in the season where 'ok, we can't win this or we can't achieve that success' Sometimes you might sacrifice the league for a cup run at the end. I haven't been here and felt we can down prioritise any games yet. We need to try and win every single game, every single player needs to learn how to cope with the standards and the expectations. But you will end up with trophies if you are consistent enough and sometimes lucky enough."