Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the dugout at Old Trafford

Read Ole's pre-West Ham press conference in full

Monday 08 February 2021 13:30

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has admitted his players will need a lift ahead of Tuesday's Emirates FA Cup tie against West Ham, but says they have the character to respond positively to the disappointment of our frustrating 3-3 draw with Everton.

West Ham geared up for this week's fifth-round meeting with a goalless draw against Fulham, and will be without on-loan Red Jesse Lingard at Old Trafford, but Solskjaer still expects a tough task against David Moyes's improving Hammers outfit.
The journalists present asked the boss about the fitness of Eric Bailly and Paul Pogba, whether he ever considers resting Harry Maguire, and how he assesses the progress Mason Greenwood and Dean Henderson have made over the last few months.
Read the briefing in full below, ahead of our bid to reach the quarter-final of the cup...
Press conference: Ole previews West Ham Video

Press conference: Ole previews West Ham

The boss speaks about trophies, home advantage and Jesse Lingard, ahead of Tuesday’s FA Cup tie…

How important would a trophy be for Manchester United, given you talk a lot about progress, you've reached semi-finals, we've seen your team play in numerous semi-finals? It feels like you need a trophy...
“Well, of course a trophy is always what you're aiming for. You want to win every single competition - FA Cup, Europa League, every game you play, the Premier League. And that's the ultimate challenge and a test for a team: to go all the way. We've improved, we've had a plan in place, and I think the team is getting better and better. Last season's semi-final was disappointing to lose that one of course, and you just want to go all the way ad you want to lift the trophy. That's not the be all and end all, of course it isn't; it's the bread and butter of the Premier League that is also a measure of how good a team is. To get to a final, sometimes you're lucky with the draw, but to win a final, then all the good teams have been beaten. So that's the next step for us in the development of this team: to go all the way in a competition.”
You're at home and usually that would be an advantage, but you seem to play better away from home. Is that a concern?
“We've just beaten Liverpool at home in the last round. I think you're a bit unfair there. We just scored three goals here tonight [against Everton] and played some very, very good football, and 9-0 the other night. So I think we're finding our way to score goals, create chances at home as well. So we're happy we don't have to travel. We wish we had our fans behind our back, of course, but I'd rather play here than in London.”
Ole, you've got a team that wants to win every match. It's clear that didn't happen tonight. How much will you have to lift them, because they looked like they'd been kicked in the guts, and that they knew they were responsible for that point as much as anything else?
“They'll have to be lifted, but they've got the personality and attitude and character to lift themselves as well. We're not going to have time to dwell on it too much and show videos, but of course there's details there that we have to improve on. A couple of things that we'll look at. But there's not going to be time enough to work on it on the training field, when the [next] game's already on Tuesday.”
West Ham seem to have come on quite a lot in the last two months since you've played them. I'm not sure if you're aware that [Tomas] Soucek was sent off in the Fulham game...
“That's not up to me. I've just heard that he was sent off. I've not seen it. But they've improved a lot, I've got to say. David's got his teams well organised, as he always does with his teams. And he's got some very good players and of course Jesse did really well for them [against Aston Villa] and I hope he's going to make them a better team, because that means he'll have played well.”
90 in 20: United 3 Liverpool 2 Video

90 in 20: United 3 Liverpool 2

Take the next 20 minutes to watch our extended highlights of this season's FA Cup classic against Liverpool...

Mason had a good game tonight and showed a lot of maturity. I just wondered what you made of his progress in recent weeks?
“Ah, Mason was different class. I thought he was the standout performer on the pitch - he just didn't get the goal that his performance deserved. I think the last few games, if you look at him closely - yeah, I know we scored nine against Southampton - but if you look at his performance I thought his performance was top. He's improved and matured immensely, and he's working with some of the top forwards in the country, of course. He's learning off them, and it's exciting to see that he's come over his blip and is playing really well.”
Dean's had two excellent seasons with Sheffield United where he's been playing regularly. How's he found the transition this season, where he's had to bide his time a little bit more? And how long do you think he is away from getting a regular run in the Premier League?
“Well, Dean has played well whenever he's got the chance, and he's matured. For me, he's developed his game. I know he's not played as many games as he would have done last season, but you see every game when he plays, and in training, his improvement. He's working hard on a couple of aspects that we've spoken about with him. I've been impressed with his attitude and work-rate. Of course, he's, how do you say, he's not the most patient guy! He wants to play every game because he knows that he'll perform well, so long may it continue, because he's improved since he's come here.”
Harry Maguire is obviously your captain and a very important player for you. But he's played over 50 hours' worth of football this season. Do you ever think about giving him a rest? Does he need rest? Or is he just one of these players who just ploughs on with it and gets through matches?
“Yeah, of course I think about if he needs a rest. If he physically can keep going and going. The nature of a centre-back position is a different position compared to full-backs and wide men or even centre midfielders, or any other position on the pitch. The centre-backs are the ones who are protected mostly from the real fatigue because you're working less. Then again, he's never injured, Harry. He's never been really badly hurt, touch wood, and hopefully he'll be able to carry on. But I'm not sure if he'll play on Tuesday or not. I've not decided yet.”
Are you planning to rotate in this match? Will Eric Bailly be available, will Pogba be available? On another matter, I'm guessing you must be very happy with the way Jesse Lingard has started at West Ham? 
“Jesse has started really well. He's gone down there, made a good first impression. He's just got to knuckle down, work hard, keep his head down, keep improving his game. We know how good he is. Just get a regular run in the game, in the team, and then hopefully we can see the best of Jesse. With Paul and Eric, I'm not sure if they're going to be fit. I think Eric is closer than Paul.”