What does Ole want to see in Turin?
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants to see his Manchester United players get their sparkle back after a frustrating run of results lately.
The Reds kick-off our Europa League campaign on Thursday night against Real Sociedad, with the match being played at the Allianz Stadium in Turin due to COVID restrictions in Spain.
While United have booked a spot in the Emirates FA Cup quarter-finals, league form has been disappointing of late with more draws than wins.
Ole spoke to club media's Mark Sullivan before the game and discussed why he's brought a couple of youngsters on the trip, his memories of playing in Turin and his hopes for his team this evening...
Firstly Ole, can you give us an update on the latest team news for the squad?
“There are a couple of doubts – Anthony [Martial] and Scott [McTominay] – but they’ll travel with us. Donny [van de Beek] had to come off [from training on Wednesday] and Edinson [Cavani] won’t be travelling, neither will Paul [Pogba]. That’s it as well as Phil [Jones] who is still not fit.”
We’ve seen some of the young lads training with you – Amad and Shola. Will they travel?
“Yeah they’re in the travelling squad. Not just for experience, they’re there to make an impact if they have to. The two boys have done well in training and they are talents that we want to give experience to. First of all they’re travelling and then let’s see if they come on the pitch.”
To be with the first team, train with you and travel with you and see how it is to be a Man United player is all part of the process isn’t it…
“Yeah I think so. It’s one of the things we do with our youngsters. They come in and they travel, step-by-step, layer-by-layer and suddenly they’re on the pitch. That’s the thing – we do have a plan and a programme in place that we try to stick to. Obviously when there are injuries or absentees or illness then maybe they’ll get the chance before we expected, but the two of them have done well.
Mason Greenwood scored his first goal in the Europa League and it gave him a chance to show his talents, so it’s a competition that has given opportunities to players…
“Yes of course. You still play good opposition. I think Real Sociedad was one of the hardest teams we could have picked, but it’s a competition that we’ve done well in and, as you’ve said, we’ve given chances to some of the youngsters and some of them have really taken them.”
It’ll be a tough match as you say, especially given Real Sociedad’s status in La Liga and in some ways it does feel like a Champions League match…
“Yeah, and the strange thing is we’re travelling to Italy to play them! We’re looking forward to the game. We just want to build some form again. We know in the last few games and the last little spell we’ve not really sparkled and turned draws into wins, and that’s the challenge now.”
La Real have former United player Adnan Januzaj in their side – are you looking forward to seeing him?
“It will be good to see Adnan. I never managed to work with him when he was here, but of course he’s the same age group as Mats Møller Dæhli so I followed them quite a bit. He’s done well for himself and he’s a player that I really like watching, but we need to keep him quiet.”
Are you looking forward to seeing the team play at the Juventus Stadium?
“Yes, I’ve not been to this stadium so that will be a new experience for me. Of course the stadium they had when I played was Stadio delle Alpi – I have one, maybe two bad memories from there, but also two very good experiences down memory lane. Now, this is a new experience and we’re going to create our own history hopefully and we’d like to start with a good game tonight.”