Manchester United's final match of 2018 kicks off at 16:30 GMT today, when Eddie Howe's Bournemouth provide the opposition at Old Trafford.
Scroll down to read the Treble winner's words on Bournemouth, the pleasure of promoting youngsters from the Academy, and more...
“It was a fantastic day. Coming out the other end with a win, three points, three goals and the fans happy, it was amazing. Walking into the stadium was very emotional. I must have been affected by it, because I was very calm. I was less agitated, I was less on the pitch than I normally am, because I like to be on the sideline and to coach the players. But I just sat down and enjoyed it, let Michael [Carrick] and Mike [Phelan] and Kieran [McKenna] do all the coaching. Walking into the gaffer's [Sir Alex Ferguson's] office... when you get a 'well done' from him, you're happy!”
“Yes, it is, and in the next period coming up that's going to be vital, because you'll always pick up injuries and little niggles. Loads of players have played these two games [against Cardiff and Huddersfield] and there will probably be one or two changes now. Maybe Anthony's back, maybe we can have Rom and Alexis, because they will be ready over New Year anyway, so it'll be good to have them.”
What has pleased you most about the performances in the last two games?
“I think the attitude. In the first 15-20 minutes against Huddersfield, we had loads of the possession, loads of the ball, but we didn't create chances. But they were patient enough to wait for it and, of course, when you score at a set piece with Victor [Lindelof, whose header led to the goal]... I've always thought that centre-backs should come up at corner kicks, and he's been staying at the back. Just before this game we'd said [that], because we lacked a little bit of height, so Victor, he goes up, gets ahead of his man and Nemanja [Matic] scores. That settled everything, when you get the first goal, and I thought we played some excellent stuff towards the half-time. We struggled a bit for ten minutes [after the break] but then we settled again.”
“Clean sheets, they're going to be vital, because we've not had that for a while, and you'll always build a team around that foundation. But score goals, of course. Get the first one, get the next goal, always look forward to the next goal, but that doesn't mean that we should try to score every time we've got the ball. So that game management, we'll agree on when to attack and when to just calm the game down and then [clicks fingers] quicken it up.”
You brought Angel [Gomes] on towards the end [against Huddersfield], and James [Garner] has been part of the last couple of squads as well. Is that something you want to keep doing: involving, helping and promoting the young players?
“Of course, because that sends a signal to the boys that 'you are close', because they are. They've done really well in training. When you get the chance to put a player out there for 15 minutes at Old Trafford to give him that experience, Angel was, of course, the one I wanted to put on. And we probably would have still done it if we'd needed a goal, as well, because he's that sharp.”
'If you're good enough, you're old enough'Video
“Yes. I didn't think about it when I put Angel on, but when you look at it, we ended with them as the front four, and that's nice. Everybody connected with the club knows we are dependent on youngsters coming through, and to make them good enough they've got to have a chance. If you don't give them a chance, you can suspect 'he might do it, he might do it', but they've got to be able to show their talent.”
The games keep coming thick and fast, with Bournemouth next at Old Trafford. What are you expecting from them?
“A tough game. They should have been two, maybe three up, against Spurs, and it ended up them losing by five. That's a very strange, strange result, if you look at the performance. I think Spurs will feel they got the best out of that game. I have to say, they [Bournemouth] had two or three chances towards the end of the half with headers, but they should have been two up. But in between, Spurs can just go bang, bang, bang and punish you. It's sad to hear about Simon Francis's injury. That's a big blow for them, of course, and let's just hope he gets a quick recovery and we wish him all the best.”
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“You've got to be concentrated. Josh is strong and quick, with loads of energy about him, so you've just got to be aware of him. Josh has really developed since I had him in the Reserves here. It's great to see him having such a great career. He's doing well for Norway, so back home he's one of the few that we can really enjoy watching in the Premier League! But I hope the Norwegians won't enjoy watching him in this game, because hopefully we can stop him.”
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