Ole: We'll always attack
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says his players will be going into Thursday's quarter-final first leg against Granada with plenty of confidence after our last two excellent Europa League performances and with the gameplan, as always, to attack.
The boss also praised the excellent defensive base his side have produced this season as the Reds have progressed to the last eight of the Europa League.
United take on Granada for the first time in our history and, during his pre-match interview with us, Ole spoke of his players' desire to get a positive result in Spain to bring back to Old Trafford next week.
There was also good news on the injury front with no fresh knocks from the 2-1 win over Brighton & Hove Albion and Marcus Rashford passed fit to travel...
Firstly Ole, it's great to see that Marcus Rashford is okay and you're taking a strong squad out to Granada...
“Marcus is okay-ish. He's trained on Wednesday morning and Juan is back training as is Alex [Telles], so we're looking stronger definitely. We didn't lose anyone last weekend against Brighton.”
Does Marcus's inclusion shows his determination to always be involved as he picked up that knock against Brighton?
“Yes of course and it's a big game. We've got loads of games and we need players to work together as a squad - is it from the start or is it coming on? He's available to be selected as I said either as a sub or a starter.”
What's the latest on Eric Bailly?
“He needs a negative test before he can come back to us. It'll take the time it takes unfortunately. That's the world we live in at the moment and we've got to take the precautionary measures. Hopefully Eric is still feeling okay, last time I spoke to him he was alright.”
Will you and the players take a lot of confidence from our performances away from home against Real Sociedad and AC Milan?
“I think we’ve proved to ourselves and everyone that we are good side home or away, but of course the neutral game against Sociedad was a very good one for us. We played against a very good team. Granada is a different team and a different set-up than Real Sociedad with different strengths and a different way of playing so we’ve got to find a way to get the best possible performance.”
It’s the biggest game in Granada's history - what are you expecting from them especially given this will be their 14th Europa League game of the campaign after going through qualifying so it’s been a long road for them?
“They’ve had a very long season but an exceptionally good one as well. They got promoted two years ago, played in La Liga, got seventh and qualified for Europe for the first time and they’ve played something like 46 or 47 games all season already [in all competitions] – I think only Tottenham have played more competitive games than them this season. They’ve had a great season and we know we’ll meet a team with an attitude, desire, experience and a team spirit that is better than many, many teams. We know that when you get promoted and you get those results it is team spirit that will keep you going and their coach has been very impressive and the results they’ve got so far have been fantastic. Of course I watched them against Molde, I don’t think I offend anyone when I say I hoped Molde would go through! [Smiles] Granada were too good.”
Roberto Soldado is a striker with great experience, who had time in England with Spurs, will he be one of the main threats on the night?
“He’s got the experience of course. They’ve got other players that have played in England too like [Yangel] Herrera and Kenedy who were at Manchester City and Chelsea [respectively] and [Jesus] Vallejo was at Wolves so they know about the Premier League. Soldado scored against Cardiff, against me [smiles] when he was at Tottenham to beat us 1-0. I know what he can do and, as I said, it’s a team more than individuals.”
With away goals being so crucial in European knock-out football, does that bolster our usual philosophy to go out and attack?
“I think that’s what we do best. It’s always going to be in our DNA that we want to go and score goals. Of course you want a defensive foundation, but we know about away goals and also how good we are at Old Trafford as well. We’ve got a proud record at Old Trafford in Europe so if we get a good result to build on that’s all we can ask.”
Anthony Elanga has been added to the squad - it'll be great experience for him to be in this environment. Is it another example of showing the faith you have in young players?
“I've got faith in the young lads of course and in Anthony we have a player with good skills, a great attitude and he scores goals from either the right or left, and he's got good pace. He's not just there for experience, he might actually play a part, who knows. He's got that X-factor and I like players with speed and acceleration and he's definitely got that.”