Ole on Granada, Mata and a new squad addition
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is looking to see his Manchester United players build on the recent team momentum and finish the job against Granada on Thursday night in our Europa League quarter-final, second-leg tie.
The Reds currently hold a 2-0 advantage over the Spanish outfit, who visit Old Trafford for the first time in their history.
United go into the match on the back of our excellent 3-1 win at Tottenham Hotspur but with three players suspended - Harry Maguire, Scott McTominay and Luke Shaw - so Ole will have some selection decisions to make.
Juan Mata is available again and young defender Will Fish is also included in the squad for the first time. Ole spoke to club media's Mark Sullivan ahead of Thursday night's match as the Reds look to seal a semi-final berth...
Firstly Ole, it was a huge win on Sunday – how highly did you rate that second half?
“It was a very good second half, definitely. We’ve had some good ones before – Southampton away when we were 2-0 down and we had to come back and won 3-2, that was another very good performance, but this one was authoritative, lots of confidence, you could see the team spirit and you saw they didn’t give up. They came together at half-time and that’s the bar now, the standard and the expectation that we start the games better, we have to.”
Were there any knocks or niggles picked up after the game?
“Yes, Marcus didn’t train on Wednesday so I’ll have to give him as much time as possible, his foot is still a little bit sore, but, fingers crossed, he is available.”
Are there any players returning like Dan James?
“Dan James is back. He trained on Wednesday so he should be available. Of course, we’ve lost a few through suspension for this game against Granada.”
Yes Harry, Scott and Luke are all suspended so it’s an opportunity for others…
“Yes, that’s why we have a good, strong squad and that’s why these players come in every day knowing that at one part of the season, you’ll have to contribute and make an important contribution. So I trust the ones that come in.”
Will Fish has been added to the squad – what are your thoughts on him?
“He’s a very good talent, a composed centre-back with physical stature. He’s one we believe in. Of course, we’ve lost a few defenders so to have Will on the bench is a good experience for him and he’s there if he’s needed and he’s ready.”
We’ve not seen Juan Mata for a while due to the personal matters he’s had going on – can we expect to see him back soon?
“Yeah, definitely. He’s come back in and trained with us now for a little bit more than a week and he looks himself again – sharp and he’s ready to come on.”
United v Granada: Watch Ole's press conferenceVideo
How important was that 2-0 win in the first leg to give you that building block for the second leg?
“We know the foundation is there. We’ve looked at the game and looked at the video in terms of what we need to improve on. That’s the point here that we go from game to game trying to improve. It’s not just about results, it’s the way we get those results as well which will lead to us, in the end, to being a better team. We go into this game wanting to win it. We’re at home and we want to build on this momentum that we’ve got now.”
Granada suffered a couple of disappointing results before the first leg, but they got a morale-boosting win lately against Real Valladolid at the weekend so that will give them a boost coming into this game…
“Yes, of course and they’ve got nothing to lose. They’re going to come here to try to win the game, they need to score and we want to score goals so, hopefully, it will be a good game.”