Every word from Ole's press conference

Friday 20 August 2021 15:48

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has addressed the media ahead of his side's second league game of the campaign.

The Reds travel to St Mary's on Sunday (14:00 BST) to face Southampton and will be bidding to make it two wins from two so far in the Premier League.

Here's everything Ole said to reporters at Carrington earlier...

After a great start to the season, what’s the team news?
"Of course, as you say, a great start. First game of the season when you get off to a good start with the fans, it changes the mood, or it sets the mood. Our job now is to capitalise on it, get more energy, don’t get complacent. With regard to team news, that’s a boost as well, Edinson’s joined in, Raphael’s joining in – so we’re getting fitter and fitter."

Will there be starts for both or either of Sancho and Varane?
"You’ll see on Sunday. They’ve worked well anyway. They’ve had minutes. We’ve had a very good week ourselves. We’ll see who’s making the flight down to Southampton on Saturday."

Press Conference: Southampton (A) Video

Press Conference: Southampton (A)

The boss spoke about Varane, Cavani, young players, COVID-19 vaccines and more during his media briefing ahead of Southampton…

How much of an impact will Jesse have on the squad this season?
"I think Jesse’s first priority is to get into our team. I think whenever your employer is Man United, I think that’s your first priority; it always is. I think we, together, can have great moments. Of course, as a manager with players and a squad like I’ve got now, it’s difficult. It’s difficult to say that, ‘this weekend you’re not playing’, because I have got to leave players out, never mind from the starting XI, even from the squad. But they’ll all have to remember and know that they’re going to have to play a part if we’re going to be successful. Jesse is back to his fitness, he’s played really well in the behind-closed-doors game on Tuesday and he’s come back bubbly and in good shape. He’s got a big part to play."

What is the latest surrounding Paul Pogba?
"That’s negotiations with Paul’s representatives and the club. For me, me and Paul work together every day here and we keep trying to improve, to improve the team and to enjoy ourselves. When you win games, you enjoy yourself more. We’ve just got to make sure this isn’t just one game and everyone flies off on all these… you know, we get these big headlines and praise we get. It’s about bringing more energy into the next one and being even better. One swallow never makes a summer."

Will Amad and Garner or anybody else head out on loan?
"I would definitely think Jimmy will go on loan. That’s more or less done. He’s done really well in pre-season, and he’s really impressed me, and I think for his career, another season, or another six months now to start with, playing regularly in the Championship will help him. With Amad, I have to say he’s doing really, really well in training. He’s come back a little bit later after the Olympics, we needed some time to get him back in and now he’s looking really good. So I wouldn’t be surprised if he stayed as well. It has to be the right loan, right move, right club, right way of playing for any of our youngsters, really, that want to go."

What are you expecting from Southampton? What are you expectations of the game?
"You know that game was a one off [9-0]. That’s a special game when you get a lad sent off in the first minute, so I don’t count that game at all. Always with Ralph’s teams you get high energy, high pressing, belief in themselves. And they give you a great challenge, like they did last season we were lucky to – well, not lucky, maybe lucky, maybe good - when we turned their two-goal lead into a 3-2 win for us with Edinson’s substitute appearance. We know every time we travel down there it’s a very, very difficult game."

Is it mandatory for all your players to be double-jabbed, and are they all double-jabbed?
"They’re not all double-jabbed, no. I am – put it that way – and I encourage the lads to take the vaccinations, but we can’t force anyone to do that, no."

Have some refused?
"To my understanding, we’re still wanting everyone to be doubled-jabbed and it’s up to them. It’s still possible to take them."

Solskjaer provides an update on Cavani


Ole has spoken to the media about Edinson and his fitness, during our pre-match press conference.

On Raphael Varane, why did you want to sign him? What did you see in him? How has he been settling in in training?
"I think if you follow football in the last 10 years… that’s the reason we want to sign him, what he’s done over his career. It’s no secret that we were close - or we were in there - when he left to Real Madrid 10 years ago. Sir Alex was in there speaking to them and we were close. Ever since his performances on the pitch, his demeanour and behaviour off the pitch, it tells me that that’s a Man United player. And we managed to convince him to have the feeling of Man United. I think that’s been in his heart ever since he went to Real Madrid as well. I think he had a little bit of a feeling for Man United. And we definitely have had feelings for him for many, many years. The Champions League wins he’s had, the World Cup wins… everything about him is class. He’s a defender who is quick, strong, good in the air, he can play with both feet. The short answer is everything about him is what you want. He’s been humble, he’s been inquisitive. He asks questions. He doesn’t want to learn by a mistake in the game, he wants to learn it on the training field before he comes on the pitch. Everything about him has been impressive."

Your away performances last season were absolutely fantastic, and you picked up a lot of points. There’s going to be crowds when you play away this season. How are you going to approach that and will it be different?
"Definitely, it’ll be a big difference. I don’t know how many points but we won so many points from going one goal down but you can’t afford to do that with fans in the stadium when you’re away from home. Because the fans mean so much in the energy levels, that little bit of extra edge, maybe some nerves if you’re the away team. We have to start better, that’s a definite. We have to, of course, manage the game so that the away fans are the ones that are heard. We’ve got the best away fans in the world but we can only hear them if we play well and start well. You want to silence the home crowd. I know that’s not going to happen when it’s the first game at St. Mary’s for 18 months, so that’s not going to happen, it’s going be loud, but it’s up to us to play the football to do that as well."

Ole impressed by Varane's immediate impact


The boss discussed Raphael's first week at training and why he's always seen him as a Red in the making.

On Edinson Cavani’s fitness, how’s he doing and how important was it to let him have a little bit of extra time at home this summer?
"Edinson’s always looked after himself. Of course, he’s lacking in team training, in football training but he’s been looking after himself and you can see that. He had different reasons as to why he was late, there were some personal reasons, but his body can tolerate a lot. It wasn’t that he needed those extra days physically, it was a different matter. He’s chomping at the bit, he’s ready to go and let’s see how much we can get out of him early on."

On how Dean Henderson is doing, how alarming was it for you that a young athlete in such good shape as him would still suffer the effects of COVID-19 quite a bit after contracting it?
"The whole situation around COVID is still unknown and it’s new for everyone and that’s the scary bit. We don’t really know the effects on you. You hear people have it, less fit people than footballers have it, and have no symptoms and then you have fit footballers, and you get after effects and prolonged side effects and tiredness. So it’s a scary disease and virus, so we need to really be careful. With regards to Dean, he was tired after trainings. He felt that. We needed to check him up. Now he feels much better. He’s passed all the tests that we’ve gone through with him. He’s training and building himself up again because he’s lost a few weeks. He’s working hard in the gym, working out on the grass. He’s not with full team training yet but it won’t be too long."