Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Tranmere v United: Ole's press conference in full

Friday 24 January 2020 10:38

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was back in front of the media today, for a press conference at the Aon Training Complex to preview Manchester United’s Emirates FA Cup fourth-round tie at Tranmere Rovers.

The manager looked forward to the occasion at Prenton Park on Sunday afternoon and provided an update on the squad, revealing that Victor Lindelof is available again after a short absence through illness.

Here, you can read everything that he had to tell reporters…

Ole, how difficult is it to prepare for a game when you only find out your opponents last night?
“It's a quick turnaround anyway. We played on Wednesday, so we hadn't prepared a lot, but before the game yesterday we had watched a couple of the other Tranmere games and you watched the one last night, so the opposition is the opposition no matter what. We have to just concentrate and get our own house in order and be ready for the game ourselves. So, we'll look at it again today, but I don't think you want to fill the heads of the players too early with the next game all the time.”

And in terms of team news, anyone back, any updates?
“Victor has recovered, so he's well again, so let's see how well he feels today and tomorrow, and apart from that no one got any knocks that is anything to think about.”

Watch the opening section of Ole's press conference on Friday morning.
Ordinarily this would kind of be the game where you'd throw in Eric Bailly maybe, but given the pitch is that something that has to go into your mind when you're selecting the side?
“What do you mean ordinarily I'd play Eric Bailly?”

Well in terms of when you're bringing someone back in a cup game…
“Eric has had a couple of games behind closed doors here as well. The pitch is not great, but that's the same for both of us. The players just have to be focused, ready. This generation coming through with astroturf and nice pitches, they get lazier in their heads, so Eric is probably one of them who is more prepared and ready for a game with that pitch. So everyone has just got to be focused, both for injuries but also of course the bounce of the ball.”

You look brighter and more optimistic this morning. I know you are optimistic, but...

Is there the energy within the squad to kind of lift them? Can they go again on Sunday?
“Of course we can go again. It's the second day today, of recovery. You've just got to get on with it. You've got to go onto the next one with the right mentality. After a game you're disappointed and you're down, of course you are, and I'm not going to lie, it's not been nice losing two games. That's how it is, but then you spend an hour or two and then you get over it and you look forward.”
I know you haven't given away too much on transfers, but how difficult would life be if no one else came in in January in terms of this small squad being stretched?
“It is stretched, but of course we're getting players back after the break as well, so we will be better off with a break. We're still working on one or two things, so let's see if the club can get it over the line.”

After Wednesday night people spoke about a toxic atmosphere around the club with the fans singing what they did, so many leaving before the end of the game, the defeat, all that kind of negativity. Do you feel that within the football club?
“Within the football club, on the training ground, the mood is still good. Of course everyone is down because we don't win and we all want to win games. It's understandable that supporters sometimes air their frustration when the results aren't great on the pitch. The last week has been two disappointing results, which has enhanced that feeling, but for us you get used to it at this club. When you've been at this club as long as I have you get used to the ups and the downs, and as we've just spoke about here, you've just got to get on with it. When you do well you don't take off, when you do badly you know you've got a job to do and you've got to do it better next time.”

And yourself?
“Myself? How I do. Those are different things, but of course it's thinking about football. But sometimes you can take your mind off it and spend time with your family.”
The manager spoke passionately about the mental strength of the club at this challenging time.
Are you concerned with the atmosphere and the negativity that's just mentioned there, that it would get worse if you don't bring any new faces in?
“I think our fans know what we have started on and I've been trusted to do that job by the club and for me that rebuild it doesn't go one way all the time. It doesn't go ‘we're doing great, we're doing great, we're winning games’. I've said it so many times. And the foundation has to be laid and the culture has to be properly set and laid down and with this group I feel I have a good core of players that believe in themselves and believe in what we're doing and I trust them to be the good lads carrying us forward with some signings, of course, with players coming back from injuries. You don't just take the roof off when you're going to knock your house down. You need to knock your house down and put the foundation in. You just don't start with the roof and for us we've had a couple of rainy days and we wish that roof was on, but you can't hide.”

Ole, you said things can't be done immediately, but we saw with for instance Pep Guardiola at City, he spent 500 million or whatever it was very quickly and we've seen the results. Why can't Manchester United do that? 
“For me we do have a way of doing things. Of course you can see other teams have done well. You can see Jurgen [Klopp] has spent four years building his team and they're doing well now, so of course I've said it so many times, it's not going to be a quick fix. It's not going to be eight players in, or 10 players in, in one transfer window. We've had one transfer window, a proper one, in the summer, because Januarys are difficult, but we are still trying to do something now.”
Just on that. The desire for you to do well is very evident from the match-going support. They've been fully behind you. A lot recognise it's a long-term job. What convinces you that you will absolutely get the time and it could be years to implement the change you want?
“You know when you start on something you stick to that plan. For me anyway. I'm not going to change six or eight or nine, 10 months after I got the job and start believing in a different way of doing things. I'm going to stick to what I've been trusted to do by the club and hopefully that will be good enough and that they can see what we're doing is right. You know, it's one of these jobs, we know how football is nowadays but all my conversations with the club have been positive.” 

Do you think it's about collectively holding your nerve, ignoring what's going on outside and sticking together resolutely?
“We can't react to all the noise outside. Of course there's always going to be criticism, you've got to take the criticism at this club, you've got to be stronger mentally probably than anywhere else in the world. I feel I am, the club is strong, the staff I've got with me they're very strong mentally. So we're sticking to what we believe in and I've got full faith in what we're doing.”
Simon Mullock of The Mirror offers his assessment of Ole's latest press conference.

Marcus Rashford tweeted that he'd be involved in team meeting, sessions, everything. Has that been the case during his recovery? Has he been around the place?
“Well at the moment he's been having loads of treatment, so he'll probably be, he might be in the meeting today or tomorrow, who knows? Marcus is a genuine Manchester United supporter and he wants us to do well and he wants to help, he's at the games, so.”

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