Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

What did Solskjaer say in his pre-Burnley briefing?

Monday 11 January 2021 14:10

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said that it is unlikely Manchester United will have any incomings during this transfer window.

The boss was speaking during Monday's press conference, ahead of our trip to take on Burnley.

While Ole's mindset is fully focused on the upcoming Premier League game, he did have to field questions about the possibility of any transfer business when speaking to journalists via video link.

The Norwegian was also asked about the league table, Edinson Cavani's return to the team, how the current league compares with Sir Alex Ferguson's era, plus the importance of picking up three points from our game in hand.

Below is every word from Ole in the first half of his media briefing...

Watch Ole’s press conference Video

Watch Ole’s press conference

Solskjaer previews Tuesday’s trip to Burnley, which kickstarts a crunch run of Premier League fixtures…

Sean Dyche has said today that it’s like nobody has wanted to take a grip of the Premier League in recent weeks. Is that right and have Burnley looked more like themselves in recent weeks?
“They’ve had some good results, Burnley, after a difficult start. [It’s] hard to score against them; they don’t concede many chances – [they’re] always difficult to play against. When you go there, you know what you’re up against. I think all the teams want to take a grip on the Premier League, of course, but it’s that kind of season, that kind of year and situation where there will be more ups and downs and less consistency in results and performances. For me, it’s exciting. As a supporter or a fan, it’s more interesting when there are more teams in and around each other, compared to last season when one just ran away.”

Can you give us an update on the injures? [Eric] Bailly, [Paul] Pogba, [Victor] Lindelof and [Luke] Shaw…
“Yeah, all of them trained today. Paul and Eric didn’t do all of it, but Luke and Victor did all of it. I’ve got a decent amount of players to pick from. Let’s see with Paul and Eric and how they are tomorrow.”
You’ll obviously have Edinson Cavani back for tomorrow. He must be champing at the bit, and is it a great extra boost that you can call upon him at this time?
“Edinson has trained well since he’s been banned. He’s a had couple of days off as well – you can’t train too much. He’s ready to go. He’s a different option. He’s a different type of striker than Mason [Greenwood], Anthony [Martial] and Marcus [Rashford]. I’m glad to have him back and that’s why we brought him in. He’s contributed really well so far. I’m sure he’ll be really important for us between now and the end of the season. The end of the season starts tomorrow night.”

You said the other day that no-one is going to remember who was top on 12 January, but in terms of your progress it would be an important step, I imagine?
“Well, we are better off this season compared to the same time last year. We’ve won more games, we’ve scored more goals, we’ve played better football. That’s a positive, but as I said, no-one remembers the January league table. For us, it’s just about developing this team [and] improving. I think we’ve showed again that we can bounce back after a disappointment. I thought the lads who played in the FA Cup game showed good character and good attitude and quality.”
It’s been a long time since Manchester United have even challenged at the top of the league. Can you quantify that, as someone who spent all his career at the club challenging for major trophies and winning major honours?
“Since Sir Alex [Ferguson] left, we’ve been second, third, fourth, fifth and twice sixth, once seventh. It’s important for us to establish ourselves up amongst [the top four]. We’ve only been in the top four three time since Sir Alex left. If we can do that again and improve on third, that’s progress. When I played, it was completely different, of course. We were really disappointed if we didn’t win the league. When we played, we were third once, but most of the time we challenged against one team. The league is different now; there are so many top teams that can challenge and can look at themselves as candidates to challenge the top teams.”

Do you think there are comparisons from back then because you achieved so much and Sir Alex achieved so much that everyone who follows gets compared to that? Whereas it’s not as easy to get close to those achievements...
“Like I said, there weren’t that many teams who were able to challenge for the top two or three positions. So, in a good year you win; in a bad year you come second or third. Of course, now there are so many other teams with big squads, strong squads, who can challenge. You all talk about the top six, but then you have other teams who get up there now. That’s due to good work at different clubs and good signings. It makes it a more exciting league than the last two or three seasons when two teams ran away.”

Match Quiz: Watford quiz

We've compiled 10 questions from our FA Cup victory over the Hornets...🐝

Sir Alex used to say every year in January that this was the month to apply the pressure and put the foot on the peddle. From your point of view, is January about putting that pressure on and being in and amongst it by the end of the month?
“As I said, the league table doesn’t really matter now, but you pick up points and, when you get to March and April, that’s where the league is more or less decided. We knew this season was going to be difficult for us. We started later than everyone and had this game to catch up. We didn’t have any pre-season. I remember I said – and I was wasn’t happy with what I said, actually – we just needed to hang in for a little while. That wasn’t what I meant. I meant just keep picking up points; it’s not about just hanging in there. Get the performances right, get the points on the board and don’t let teams run away with it, and we’ve done well.”

I think when Ed [Woodward] last spoke publicly, he said the emphasis was on summer windows and not January. Is that because it’s hard to get what you want? Also, have you got the players at the moment to keep making that progress this season going into a summer window?
“I think that the signings we made in the summer strengthened the squad really well. Good characters, good signings, good players. January is always difficult, but if something comes up that you think is a long-term target anyway, that’s another scenario. But not many teams would be willing to lose their players in January. [It's] unlikely that something will happen on the in side, but there might be two or three going out. They deserve to play more football for their own good and for their own careers.”
Highlights: United 1 Watford 0 Video

Highlights: United 1 Watford 0

Scott McTominay's header saw off Watford in the third round of this season's FA Cup...

We know that you’ll go top of the table with a positive result. Since the start of the season you’ve been having to play catch-up with the other clubs. Do you think this side is now ready to pick up the mentality of, rather than being ‘the hunter’, being ‘the hunted’? 
“We have to be aggressive. We have to go into every game humble, work hard. Don’t even think for a second that you’ve cracked it if you’re near the top. That is not the type of players that we have. We have players who should play on the front foot, be aggressive and on the front foot, be hard to play against, no matter what. But, of course, the group’s mentality is improving all the time. Now it’s a different challenge – it’s Burnley away and we’re in this position. It doesn’t really matter where we end up in the league after that one, just as long as you focus on this game and this game only.”

You talked about the Burnley game before and you’ve been waiting for it for a while now. Has it made any difference for you at all being constantly one game behind your opponents?
“With the results that we got in the beginning it made it more difficult for the players maybe. It made it easier for teams to criticise us, to worry, to maybe look at the table. Of course, a game in hand is only good if you win it. People talk about a game in hand, but you have to win that one to get them points on the board. With a difficult start against Palace and against Tottenham, I think it made it harder for the players mentally, maybe, to look at the table. Even if you don’t look at the table, people will keep talking away about your position.”

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