Leicester v United: News from Ole's press conference
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is not surprised by Manchester United's excellent form on the road, after picking up a 10th away win in all competitions this season with the 2-0 Carabao Cup victory over Everton.
The Reds have notably won all six Premier League away games this term, remarkably coming from behind to take three points in all of the encounters - and Ole admits we cannot afford to keep conceding the first goal.
In his press conference to preview the Boxing Day match at Leicester City - which you can read in full below - Solskjaer was quizzed by journalists on our away form, what threats the Foxes pose, United's running stats and dealing with the pressures of being near the top of the table...
Leicester v United: Solskjaer's press conference
Watch Ole's press conference to preview our Boxing Day match at Leicester, beginning with praise for Anthony Martial...
“Yeah, Anthony has made some important contributions lately: assists, scored goals, he is getting fitter. I think he showed against Leeds that he knows that I’m on to him about this and his running stats from that game set a new standard for him, which I want to see more of. He’s always going to have the quality. Maybe his confidence has been bruised a little bit by what happened earlier in the season, with the red card and he had some criticism. But Anthony is going to be better and better. When we get Mason [Greenwood], Marcus [Rashford] and Anthony firing on all cylinders, we’ll be a bigger threat for teams.”
How difficult a test do Leicester pose? Is it that sort of thing where you just get your head down in the league without any other distractions for a bit - is that a welcomed thing?
“Well, it’s game by game, we have to think like that now. But Leicester… we’ve had some good games against Leicester, very tight games. They’re a very good side with a very good coach and I’ve enjoyed watching them under Brendan [Rodgers]. It was a big test for us to go down there at their stadium for the last league game of last season in the summer. We passed that one with flying colours. I felt we really controlled the game. I know it’s not going to be the same now because it’s a different time of the season. They have some threats that you have to look for and we’ll just sit down and think about who’s fit and who’s not fit.”
“We’re getting better and better. These boys know what I want from my team. Certain games give you a chance to run in a different way; they’re all different in their own way. The Leeds game was very open and end to end, loads of running. That shows we do have the capability if required.”
Obviously you’re in a very good position in the league and you’ve got a match in hand as well. How do you deal with this talk of you being title challengers? It is something you welcome or something you’d rather not hear and just keep the noise out?
“There is noise around Man United anyway. For us, it’s about improving as team, take it game by game - we have to. That’s the name of the game, that’s the only way you’re going to challenge for anything at the end of the season anyway. It’s not something we talk about. The only thing we talk about is improving day by day, learning how to deal with different situations and maybe now at the moment we’re getting praise. That’s another thing we need to learn how to deal with.”
Do you find yourself scratching your head at Man United’s away results? You just seem to be so strong away from home at the moment…
“No, why should I? I go into every single game thinking we can win it. If it’s at home or away it doesn’t really matter at the moment, even though tonight [against Everton] we had some fans and the noise was really good and enjoyable. It’s not like it used to be a year ago. Away or home, it doesn’t really matter.”
You did it today, but with Leicester coming up, how important is it to keep a clean sheet away from home? Also, in the league, knowing that you had to come from behind in every away league game this season?
“It’s going to catch up with you if you keep letting the other team take the lead, and Leicester are one of those teams who you don’t want to give a one or two-goal lead to because they have got so many players on the transition. If they can play on the result, you could easily concede two, three or four. So, we have to start as well as we did today. I thought we started excellently today and against Leeds. Of course, the first goal in any game is a very important one.”
Leicester v United kicks off at 12:30 GMT on Boxing Day.