Solskjaer Q&A: The players must show they are ready

The 2020/21 season is set to be hectic and Manchester United will be back in action just three days after starting another Premier League term, to begin our Carabao Cup campaign.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Reds are preparing to face in-form Championship club Luton Town at Kenilworth Road on Tuesday evening, with a place in the fourth round up for grabs. 

United are looking to bounce back from last weekend’s defeat to Crystal Palace and the boss has called on his players to show they are ready for action, with plans to rotate the group. 

In this interview with MUTV reporter Mark Sullivan, Solskjaer reveals his plans for the game and confirms we have no fresh injuries in the squad. Ole also looked forward to a reunion with United Academy graduate Ryan Tunnicliffe, who he previously coached with the Reserves…

You've had a little bit of time to think, so what are your thoughts on the Palace game?
“I don't think it was a good watch. I didn't like it then and, as I said, we didn't come out of the traps quickly enough and they did. They looked sharper than us, fitter than us and they deserved the points. We didn't do enough to earn the right and you have got to earn the right in a Premier League match.”


Games are going to come quickly in the shortest of seasons, so will you rotate?
“We’ll make some changes, of course we will. For some, it’s the pre-season and, for some, they’ve only been here for a week now, for different reasons. Some of them need game-time, they do and we can see we’re lacking in sharpness. We just need to make the most of the training sessions and games we have.”
What’s the team news? We had a few absentees at the weekend…
“No injuries, no fresh injuries after that game but, as I said, we’ll rotate and give some minutes. Some, after the game, will do some harder training this week to get ready for Brighton. Some will join the squad and go down there.”


What are your thoughts on Luton? Because they’ve begun the season really well…
“They’ve started really well, as you said, and finished last season really well, as well. They have, of course, beaten Norwich and Reading to get there in the cup and beaten Barnsley and Derby in the league as well. It’s a team with confidence and they’re playing Man United, of course it will be a big game for them. But it’s a big game for our players, the ones who get a chance, as they need to show they are ready to be called upon.”
Ryan Tunnicliffe is at Luton and he’s somebody you know well…
“Yeah, I noticed he wasn’t in the squad this latest league game. Hopefully he’s not injured and hopefully we’ll see Ryan. I had him in the Reserves and I’m glad to see he’s having a career. He was always an attacking midfielder, going from box to box, and it’s always good to see them back.”


So many come through and, if they haven’t made it here, they still have long careers…
“The Academy is fantastic, from when we get them in at an early age. We make sure they get careers as well. Ryan was close to making it here but it just didn’t happen for him. I’m happy to see the likes of him and other players make good careers somewhere else.”

90 in 20: United 1 Crystal Palace 3Video

What do you expect on Tuesday night then?
“Cup games are cup games, of course. Luton have got their style, Nathan Jones has come back now after doing so well with them and getting them promoted. They’re a team that’s direct with high intensity, aggressive and, of course, strong set-plays – you worry when you play teams with centre-backs that are, well, a bigger size than me anyway.”

They’ve had more games so does it give them the edge in terms of fitness?
“Of course. We need four or five games to get up to the standard we know we’re capable of. We haven’t had an opportunity to get those games in and we have to make sure, in these games, we get the minutes and make the players ready to start competing in the league again. Brighton away [on Saturday] is going to be a very tough one so we’ll use this one [for minutes]. We want to get through, but it’s also minutes for a few.”

Ole: This is a wake-up callVideo

We could face Brighton again in the next round next week…
“Let’s make sure we get past Luton first, that’s the main priority now. We have to perform and make it a competitive game. Let’s show we are ready to kick on.”

The new season is here. Our 2020/21 home, away and third kits are available from United Direct.

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