Every word from Ole's media briefing
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer held his first press conference after the international break on Friday morning.
In his first call with the media in two weeks, the boss fielded questions on our defeat to Spurs at the beginning of the month, as well as the upcoming trip to Newcastle.
Our three new signings in Edinson Cavani, Alex Telles and Facundo Pellistri were also on the agenda, as were Marcus Rashford's MBE and comments made during the international hiatus by Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba.
Watch the press conference in full below, or scroll down for the transcript...
Watch Solskjaer's press conferenceVideo
We’ll start on a positive Ole and Marcus Rashford MBE. How proud are you of the work he is doing and also the way he conducts himself as a person?
“Oh well, we are extremely proud once again that Marcus gets these recognitions. I'm sure his family and Marcus himself, they must have enjoyed that. For me, as his manager, I know how great he is as a person and how much he cares for others. So extremely proud and I just want him to carry on doing his good job on and off the pitch.”
And speaking of matters on the pitch, the players called that Spurs defeat embarrassing, Ole. I know it’s only three Premier League games into the season but what would you say to the fans who are concerned about the way you have started the season?
“Of course, we know we have started the season badly and that game ended really badly. We started [it] well but after the sending off, with ten men we couldn’t hold on or get back to getting a result. When we got the 3-1 just after the sending off, I think that was [when] the extra hope maybe went. We know we have to perform better but then again, we’ve now had two weeks to think about it, work on it, the ones who were here in the group. And the others that went to the internationals, they’ve had both positive and negative experiences.”
Morning Ole. Obviously pressure and scrutiny comes on you and the players after a big loss like that. How have you found it? How has the reaction from the squad been, from the players you’ve had around?
“Well, we’ve been in touch with the ones who have been away as well of course. It is one of those things that you have to get over as soon as you can and move on. We know any little chance from outside, you want to create a division. I think Bruno spoke really well the other day about we are United, we have to stay together. We can’t listen to everyone outside, we’ve just got to get on with it. Bruno has now lost two league games since he came to the club and he came in February. But it’s been two in quick succession. So he's not used to losing league games for us but now it’s ‘Bruno, welcome to Man United, this is what happens when we lose a couple’ They’re going to try to create a division between us but that’s not going to happen because this group is a group that wants to work hard together and stick together.”
Good morning Ole. I think this is the first time we’ve managed to speak to you since the window. I just wonder what your reflections are on the incomings and when might Manchester United fans might see the likes of Cavani, Telles and Pellistri perhaps?
“Well, we look forward to integrating them into the group of course. Facundo – he’s been in training with us now for two days. Very exciting, young enthusiastic player with some attributes that we don't have. Of course, he’s maybe more for the future, maybe not for just now because he’s still 18. Alex came in yesterday and did his recovery after a long, long flight from Sao Paulo having come on twice for Brazil, so we’re looking forward to integrating him. Edinson has still not been with the group because of his quarantine. All three of them have got something different to what we have and they’ll definitely come in and help us. I think the group, as well, are looking forward to having them join in.”
The week has also seen the whole ‘Big Picture’ proposal put together by Manchester United and Liverpool. I just wonder what your thoughts are. Fans have talked of a need for reform. Clearly smaller clubs are struggling and are fearful about the future. What are your thoughts as manager of Manchester United?
“Well, it’s a definite that we, as one of the bigger clubs, we have a responsibility to protect the football pyramid or the smaller clubs. I think we’ve seen lately the effects this pandemic has had on many smaller clubs. For me, you said the fans – that’s a key thing for me, we want to get fans back in the stadiums, which will help the other clubs. I’m just very glad that we’re looking into [it] and we’re trying to help, and the talks have started. Let’s make the powers-that-be decide how we’re going to do that.”
Hi Ole. Harry Maguire obviously had a difficult night on Wednesday and there are various opinions around him. Gareth Southgate thinks he could play through his difficulties at the moment. Rio Ferdinand think he will benefit from a rest. What’s your view of how you handle your captain?
“You know football is very, very… you're in the limelight all the team. When Harry is part of the England team that beats no.1 ranked Belgium, that's just a normal day. And then you get the headlines when you get the sending off. That’s just football for you. There are so many ups and downs and we’ve got to deal with it individually and as a group. Harry has got great resilience, I know he’ll bounce back. I know he wants to play, he wants to just work his way out of the last couple of games that he’s been criticised [for]. He picked up a knock against [Denmark] just before he came off. So I’m just hopeful he’ll be fit. We had a look at him yesterday and we'll give him a test again today.”
Ole, Paul Pogba said when he was on international duty that
“all footballers would love to play for Real Madrid, it’s a dream for me.” Was that frustrating to hear your midfielder say that after a 6-1 defeat to Spurs?
“You know, Paul’s our player and he's going to be here for another two years. I’m sure Paul is focused on doing his best for us, and we want to see the best of Paul so in the next couple of years, I'm sure we'll get the best out of him.”
After the Spurs game, what kind of reaction do you demand and want to see from your players when you face Newcastle?
“We need a response, as we always do. After you lose a game, you just want to win the next one. Of course that’s the response. We want to go up there, try to dominate and control the game. The result is of course very important but I want to see the body language and our mindset as being positive again, because you don’t get anywhere being negative. So we’re going to go out there , go for a win, and see players who want to work for the points.”
Newcastle away: Every Premier League goalVideo
Newcastle tomorrow as you’ve just said. How much of a low point was that game last year? What did you learn and how much further is your team along from them? You’ve not actually lost an away game since January?
“Well, it was a disappointing game of course last year. We should have won it. We had a few chances to win it but then young Longstaff scored a goal from a counter-attack and they beat us 1-0. We didn't have a response. I think we’ve come [on] quite a bit since then as you said. We’ve done well, getting to third last season, but now it’s about getting the three points in this game because we know we’ve started badly. I know Brucey and Newcastle have started really well – seven points already, in the quarters of the Carabao Cup and it’s looking positive for them. For us, we have to go up there and dominate. We have to show that we can handle setbacks as we did have last time.”