Harry Maguire.

Read every word from Ole & Harry's press conference

Tuesday 03 November 2020 14:20

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Harry Maguire answered questions on a range of topics during Tuesday afternoon's pre-match press conference.

The duo were speaking ahead of Istanbul Basaksehir versus Manchester United in the Champions League, as Ole was asked about our form in Europe, Paul Pogba and which goalkeeper will start in Turkey.

Meanwhile, our skipper was quizzed on Roy Keane, social media, our defensive showings and more.

Scroll down to read a full transcript of what was said during the press conference...

What are you expecting from Istanbul Basaksehir and is there anyone who won’t be travelling with the squad?
OGS: "I couldn’t hear you that well. Jesse [Lingard] is not travelling and, of course, we’ve had a few injuries before. We’re travelling with a strong squad."

Basaksehir v United: Pre-match press conference Video

Basaksehir v United: Pre-match press conference

Watch Ole and Harry answer questions on consistency, leadership and our Champions League chances...

We’ve asked Ole a few times, but can you explain why Manchester United have been so good in the Champions League but so poor, in general terms, in the Premier League this season?
HM: "It’s not something we can put our finger on. We take each game as it comes, we don’t look if it’s a Champions League game or a Premier League game. We try to win the game - that’s our motivation every game we play in. Our Premier League results haven’t been as successful, but we have the same preparation. We’re focused on tomorrow night’s game, which is in the Champions League, and hopefully we can put in a performance like we’ve shown we can do this year in the competition."

Harry, it’s obviously been a difficult summer for you off the field, how hard has it been to shut out what’s happened and focus on football? Is it inevitable that what happened to you will affect you mentally and will affect your performance level, as it would do anyone?
HM: "I didn’t quite get the question, it was breaking up, but my mind is fully focused on football. Obviously, I had a difficult period in the summer, but now I’m fully focusing. I come into training each day and work as hard as I can; I focus on each game as it comes. I can only say that I’m fully focused each day in improving and taking the club forward."

How should Man United fans be feeling because there have been some amazing positives but there have also been some dark days over the last few months…
OGS: "We work every single day for our fans to have something to celebrate, of course. The process we’re going through…the players are working really hard; they’re very focused. Hopefully, tomorrow night, we can stamp our authority on this group and start with three straight wins, which we’re working towards now."

On Paul Pogba - is there a chance he may never fulfil his potential while at United as he can be frustrating?

OGS: "Every player is frustrated at himself and disappointed after a defeat. We need consistency from every one of our players and that’s what we want. Paul’s been going through a difficult period with the injury last season and COVID-19, and now he is working up to [full] fitness. We’ve seen plenty of positives lately so hopefully he’ll continue."
Roy Keane said there are no leaders in the squad, do you think his comments were fair?
HM: "Well, I can say I haven’t seen his comments but we don’t look at what’s happening [in the media] especially after a negative result. We don’t bring the negativity into the place; we stay positive and I can say, for sure, that there are a lot of leaders in this squad. I’m the captain and I’ve got a lot of leadership around me, in terms of staff and players. For sure, there are a lot of leaders in this squad."

How much of an opportunity are the next two games to get the 10 points needed to qualify?
OGS: "Well, we’ve started very well with the first two games and two great results. Now we’ve got a chance to get three against a difficult side. They’ve done well both against Paris and Leipzig, so we know it’s going to be a difficult match. We know we have a chance if we play to our best; we hope to get those four to six points that we need. Now it’s about getting those three points tomorrow night."

What do you think of Paul Pogba’s explanation that he was out of breath [when he gave away the penalty on Sunday]? When he is injury-free he must be one of fittest players…
OGS: "Any situation, you’re a fit lad. Paul knows that exact incident he could have dealt with better and he’s held his hand up. That’s how it is in a game of football. It’s a high tempo and intensity and the fitter your are, the more you can do. That goes for every footballer around the world."
How do you get more consistency across Premier League results?
HM: "The main thing is working hard, coming into training each day and trying to improve. Obviously, we want to be consistent. At the start of last season, we were a bit inconsistent in our performances and the results showed in that, and then we found some consistency after the lockdown period and we managed to achieve third in the Premier League and reach Champions League football. So we’ve got to find it within ourselves, we’ve got to find it within the group. The only thing I can say is that it’s got to come from working hard, training hard and be willing to listen and improve."

It’s been a difficult period - how do you switch off from the social-media criticism that you get?

HM: "Don’t go on it. Don’t read it."

Do you think you’ve made yourselves one of the favourites to win the Champions League given your first two results?

OGS: "You know, results can sway the whole picture so many times. Sometimes there are fine margins in games and we’ve had some good games where we’ve not got the results that we deserved. These two, of course, show the quality that we have. But we’re not going to get too far ahead of ourselves here. We look forward to the next game. As Harry said here as well: keep working to get that consistency because us at our best level, we can beat anyone. That’s how we need to go into every game thinking."

There has been a lot of experimentation in team shape and personnel recently. Is there a challenge having so many options?
OGS: "It’s always positive to have options and ways of playing. We have a style that we want to play and the thing is, it’s 11 players who rotate and who fill different roles and fill different positions. Sometimes you can look at it on paper as 4-4-2 diamond, 4-3-3 - it doesn’t matter. The principles are still there and, for us, sometimes when we start with three at the back, that’s the same as when we’re four at the back. We build from a different position. That’s just the way football is, it’s not playing in straight line and ‘stand still in that position’."
Highlights: United 5 RB Leipzig 0 Video

Highlights: United 5 RB Leipzig 0

Watch the goals by Rashford (3), Greenwood and Martial from a brilliant victory over Leipzig in October...

Will Dean Henderson play tomorrow? He’s only played two games since returning to the club and it’s hard to see where the opportunities come when [David] De Gea is clearly no.1 for the league matches…
OGS: "I think you’ve got a chance to see all 24 players that travel, tomorrow on the pitch. That’s the way it has to be at Man United with competition for places. Dean has come in and has been great in training, has been great in the games that he’s played. You’ll see the team when we start. David has also played really well lately, so I’ve got good options."

Manchester United have lost the last two matches against Turkish teams, how do you feel about playing in Turkish stadiums? Without fans, could it be an advantage?
OGS: "I think football now is really affected by the virus, of course, and the environment is not what it normally is in away games against any opposition. But, in Turkey, you have got fanatical fans, passionate fans and fantastic fans. Of course, to have the home fans with you is an advantage, that’s proven. Your fans have been supporting your teams as our supporters do at home. I think we all miss the fans in the stadiums."

Your son Noah made his Norwegian top-flight debut last weekend at age 20 - that’s ahead of schedule compared to you. What does the future hold for him?
OGS: "I was a late developer. Noah is a different type of player to me and if he wants to pursue his career in football, that’s up to him, and I’ll support him in whatever he wants to do."
Ole, what do you make about Roy Keane’s comments about there not being enough leaders and people you want with you in the trenches, in this squad?
OGS: "Well, Roy has always been outspoken and I am very glad that we have the players that we have here with us. We have different jobs - Roy’s job is to give his opinion. I always listen to Roy but we move on here with the great group of players. I’m sure we’ll see a response."

How do you explain the drop-off in performance levels in the win over Leipzig and then the Arsenal game? How do you get consistent performances from these players?
OGS: "There are fine margins in games of football. Everyone who has played and everyone who is part of this knows that. There are games that you get the margins with you, there are games that you get them against you. Of course, we want to go into every game thinking that we can out-play any opposition. We play against good teams and definitely teams have done their homework against us, and we’ve done our homework on them. It’s a game that is decided by small margins - both this one… even the Leipzig one, I would say. I know that the end score will be remembered and highlighted: 5-0, but it wasn’t a 5-0 game."

Harry, are you happy with your form since the start to the season?
HM: "Obviously, as the captain, I focus more on the team than individually. We started the season off defensively not in the best shape against Crystal Palace. We were too open and then Tottenham we let ourselves go, especially when we were down to 10 men. To concede six in any league game, especially at this club, isn’t good enough. We’ve worked hard on that since we’ve come back from the international break and I feel, since the international break, defensively, we’ve been really good. We aren’t conceding many chances at all. I think Arsenal had a couple and we’ve conceded two own-goals and a soft penalty. Defensively, we feel like we’re on the right track, but we need to get the balance right and that’s our job as well, in terms of the attacking shape and the balance of attacking and defending."