Ole exclusive before visit of Liverpool
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Liverpool are still a
“top team” who are
“playing well”, despite their recent Premier League struggles.
The Merseysiders travel to Old Trafford for Sunday's Emirates FA Cup fourth-round tie looking for respite from a tough run of league form which has seen them pick up just three points from a possible 15, leaving the reigning champions six points behind United at the halfway point of the campaign.
However, although Ole is confident in his own side's momentum, he is also under no illusions as to the ability of Jurgen Klopp's men, as you can read in our exclusive interview ahead of the game...
Ole, what’s the mood in the squad like after a win like that?
“As you expect when you win a game, everybody’s happy. We had to have a day off, or we gave them Thursday off because we didn’t get back until three or four in the morning. We had to drive up instead of flying up, the runway was closed. So it was a change of plans on the travel back. They enjoyed the day off and today [Friday] everyone was back and smiling.”
How’s the squad shaping up? How’s the squad looking?
“Strong, yeah. We’ve lost no one after the Fulham game it looks like. So everyone, more or less, is available for selection again.”
Solskjaer previews cup tieVideo
It’s such an amazing position to be in, testament to the physios and coaches who have worked hard to keep the players fit. Look at other teams, who have been struggling with injuries. But, touch wood, we’re doing okay...
“I think it has to do with the lifestyle that everyone is living. Now, there’s not too much to do to use calories and energy away from home. You recover quicker when you’re resting. So that’s been a positive. We’ve been lucky in training and games that we haven’t had injuries so far. We keep our fingers crossed that will continue.”
And what a game we have at the weekend in the FA Cup, 22 years to the day it will be from that amazing game we had. What memories do you have of the [fourth-round] game in ’99 against them?
“It was a hard-fought game, we struggled. I think we deserved to score goals earlier on, Roy [Keane] had a left-foot strike hitting the post, we had so many chances. And then, finally, in the end for a couple of minutes… It was a free kick we had, headed back square and we got one each, that must’ve been in injury-time as well, or close to. Then I managed to steal the ball off [Paul] Scholesy and put the ball through [Jamie] Carragher’s legs and we won it. It was a fantastic atmosphere at Old Trafford.”
It was a fantastic game en route to that amazing Treble. A big factor was the fans. They’re going to be sorely missed this weekend...
“Definitely. That’s just how life is at the moment but I hope they enjoy watching it in front of their TVs. We’ll do whatever we can to make them happy and to win this one, of course.”
Much has happened of course since that game in ’99 but the importance of this fixture remains the same...
“Yeah, definitely. It’s a cup game, it’s against your rivals. We’re playing every three days now anyway so there will be rotation and some changes in the team. Everyone expects and understands that. Now we just need to find a team that we’re confident in going through.”
Manchester United 2-1 LiverpoolVideo
What’s your take on Liverpool’s form?
“They’re still playing well. I said it was the best time to meet them last week. That was of no disrespect to them, it was because it was the best time for us. We are in good form, we are in a great mode of confidence and momentum and we felt we could have won the away game. They will want to go through in the cup as well. They’re a few points behind us in the league but they’re still a top team.”
They sure are. Nice to be back at Old Trafford after three matches on the road?
“We had four home games on the bounce, now we had three away games on the bounce. You have to say, winning at Burnley, winning at Fulham and drawing against Liverpool, seven points, they're decent results.”