Ole on Sancho, set-pieces and supporters

Saturday 25 September 2021 08:00

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is looking forward to experiencing another raucous Old Trafford atmosphere as his Manchester United players prepare to take on Aston Villa today.

Club media's Stewart Gardner caught up with the boss ahead of our Premier League clash with Villa and Ole took time to praise the Old Trafford faithful following the return of fans this season.

Our supporters have been treated to two exciting league victories so far and Solskjaer is hoping the Reds can build on those further on Saturday...

Ole, it’s still early in the season, but it feels like a big week this week with two league games and Villarreal?
“Yes, we’re looking forward to it. Every game, every day, every week is big at this club and the big games come thick and fast and they’re all important. We’ve started really well in the league and scored loads of goals and hopefully we can continue [that] and keep that momentum going.”

Yes, we’ve taken 13 points from 15 points which is different from last year given the circumstances were different and that makes a big difference doesn’t it because you’re not playing catch-up straight away…
“It’s about laying the foundation for the season early on. If you to play catch-up then, of course, it’s more difficult, but then it might make you more focused. So it’s not like we’ve started well and you can rest a little bit, every game is just as important and, as I said, we want to build momentum.”

Ole relishing big week ahead Video

Ole relishing big week ahead

The boss wants the Reds to maintain league momentum as we prepare for an important seven days...

How’s the squad looking going into this Villa game?
“Good. We didn’t lose anyone on Wednesday night. Edinson [Cavani] has joined in training fully after that game and he’s held his hand up and is ready.”

That’s good news given how many games we have coming up…
“Definitely. Last season, as well, he didn’t have a pre-season. He came here and he’s so professional and meticulous and, of course, now we’re glad to have him back training with us and in the squad.”

So it’s just really only Marcus Rashford and Amad now who are still out…
“Yes. So it gives me selection headaches [smiles] which is what I’d rather have, than the other way around. Sometimes you have to leave players out that you don’t feel deserve to be left out, but that’s the nature of the beast and we’ve got to make sure we’re ready for every single game.”

Jadon’s United career hasn’t really exploded just yet, but it’s not for the want of trying. Is it just a matter of time before we see him at his best?
“He’s working his socks off, all the stats show that. I thought in the game the other night, he was giving us loads of legs and attitude. He had a little difficult spell about 15/20 minutes into the game and he really came through and showed his character in front of a full stadium. He wanted to take the ball and he’s going to come good.”


There are some stats that say we’re one of only three teams not to concede from a set-piece in the Premier League – is that as a result of work on the training ground?
[Ole touches wood and smiles] “We do spend a little bit more time than what we normally would do, but it’s early on. We’ve had a couple of free weeks and different teams playing so we could work specifically with those XI. Sometimes it’s marginal or a great save or a great header, but we’ll keep on working and wanting to improve our defensive record, but we also want to score goals.”

At the other end, we haven’t actually had many free-kicks in attacking positions, despite the fact we’ve got loads of options to score from those…
“We’ll score goals, we’ve got players with quality and specific qualities on corners or free-kicks and that will come.”

This week we face Villa who lost arguably their best player in the summer, but they’ve deepened the squad quite significantly. How difficult will they be?
“Very. They started the season with a defeat in the first game and, since then, I think they’ve really kicked on. They should have won against Chelsea, it sounds like a daft statement, but if you look at that game they were absolutely brilliant in the first half, then they won 3-0 against Everton, so we know we’re playing a team in form. They’re also a team with players who can affect games, but we’re prepared as well.”

Press Conference: Aston Villa (H) Video

Press Conference: Aston Villa (H)

Watch Ole answer the media's questions on Cavani, De Gea, penalties and more...

Ashley Young is still going strong as well and is back in the Premier League after a successful spell in Italy…
“Yes, he had a very good spell in Italy and, of course, he’s been at Villa before and we’ll welcome Ashley; it will be good to see him again.”

Old Trafford has been absolutely buzzing this season in terms of the atmosphere – have you really noticed that?
“Yes. The atmosphere has been electric. It’s magic to be there when it’s like that, you just can’t replicate that anywhere else. I think the fans have really helped us. We know we have loyal fans that always come and support us and we’ll try to keep scoring goals. We’ve started with 13 in the first five games I think, with nine at home, and hopefully we can get a few more.”