Solskjaer exclusive: We'll make changes against Brugge
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has revealed he will make changes for tonight’s Europa League match against Club Brugge.
In an exclusive interview with our reporter Stewart Gardner, the boss says our busy forthcoming fixture schedule, which sees us take on Watford on Sunday, ahead of the second leg against the Belgian next Thursday, necessitates squad rotation.
Ole also explains Mason Greenwood’s absence from the travelling squad and talks us through how he feels about playing the Belgians, after their decent showing in this season’s Champions League.
Scroll down to read the full transcript ahead of tonight’s match at the Jan Breydel Stadion, or watch the video below…
Ole, first of all how is the squad looking? We saw Scott McTominay and Victor Lindelof training a little bit earlier on...
“Yeah, Victor has travelled with us. Scotty hasn’t made the squad yet. Mason hasn’t travelled, he didn’t feel well. Apart from that, it’s more or less the same squad as Monday.”
We saw a little cameo from Odion Ighalo at the end of the Chelsea match, so how’s he getting on?
“He’s glad to have got on the pitch. He’s represented us now and it’s just about getting sharper and fitter because he’s been out of season. So he’s trained well and looking forward to this game.”
As you’ve already said it’s quite a big ask isn’t it, Monday, Thursday, Sunday? Does that mean you’ll have to change things up and use the squad a bit for this?
“Yeah, the focus is this game. We need to look after this one. Then again we have to think about from Monday until City. That’s seven games in 21 days, a game every three days. We need to make sure we find the right moments to put players in and out, and rotate the squad. Everyone’s very important for us and we need to make sure everyone feels valued as well. Because they’re contributing for us behind the scenes in training. We’ll make some changes for this game.”
Our success in this competition has been based on our defensive record. We didn’t concede until the last group game but one against Astana, when we obviously played a much younger side. How pleased have you been by the defensive effort particularly in the Europa?
“I think we’ve improved as a team defensively all season. Of course, five games with a clean sheet in Europe, apart from the Astana one. That was a good game for the kids anyway. Then we’re now in a good moment as well, we’ve got four clean sheets on the bounce. We’re improving all the time, pressing high. You can see at times when we make the press high against Chelsea, when we managed to, we’re hard to break down.”
And what of Brugge then, who were in the Champions League this season. What are your thoughts on them?
“Yeah, they’re not used to losing. They’ve lost one game in the league. Good team, drew against Real Madrid away. Two draws against Galatasaray. Two tight games against PSG and one game where they’ve lost. I think Philippe [Clement, Brugge’s manager] has lost only four games since he came so he’s a top coach the manager. He must have seen the potential in this club, because he won the league last year with Genk then came to Brugge.”
What should the approach be? It’s unlikely to be done and dusted in one game…
“Well, we’ve got a good record away from home in games. We’ve just got to go out there as we normally do but knowing at the end of this game there’s still 90 minutes to play.”
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And in the knockouts, you then think this is serious now in the Europa League. Is that how it feels?
“Of course, if you’re out, you’re out and there’s no second chances. But we’re looking forward to this. We know it’s a tough draw. Normally when you win your group as comfortably as we did, you think you’re going to have a nice draw and then you end up with a Champions League team dropping down from there. So it’s a hard draw but we’re looking forward to it.”
Obviously Simon Mignolet is going to start in goal, but the number two goalkeeper is somebody you signed him for Molde, didn’t you?
“Yeah I had Ethan [Horvath] and I sold him to Brugge after he’d been at the club for a few years. Fantastic boy, professional, did really well and got into the US national team, so it’ll be nice to meet him again.”
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