Full transcript from Ole's pre-Europa League final press conference

Tuesday 25 May 2021 16:00

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer paid tribute to Sir Alex Ferguson and promised Bruno Fernandes some analysis videos on Villarreal in his pre-match press conference ahead of the UEFA Europa League final.

Clearly in a relaxed mood, the boss appeared alongside Fernandes and Luke Shaw as they spoke to the media in Poland.

And you can read everything that Ole had to say below, ahead of his first European final as United manager...

Maguire watches training at Gdansk Stadium Video

Maguire watches training at Gdansk Stadium

Listen in as Mark Sullivan and Ben Thornley discuss the sight of Harry Maguire watching our session in Poland...

How's the squad looking ahead of a huge match?
“We've prepared well. Anthony didn't make it. Phil of course didn't make it and Harry is just gonna jog up and down the sideline, I reckon. He'll probably try to join in a little bit but apart from that we're looking quite good.”

How does this differ to 1999 in terms of the build-up, what you'll do this evening, how you'll spend tomorrow, how are you feeling?
“I'm feeling good, of course. The difference is we flew Concorde to Barcelona. That was a horrible, horrible flight. The flight yesterday was comfortable. We've got to the end of the season, this final is the last one, we have to go to the final and enjoy it. We have to play as we have done, how we got here is team spirit, working together and some quality moments in games of course.”

Does this feel like a gateway trophy for you? We've seen dynasties start in this fashion at United and other clubs?
“Of course. I think players when they get the taste for success, when they win trophies, when they win something, it can go two ways. It can go 'oh, we've done it now we can relax' or as I've felt a few times, it gives you more of that feeling, you want that feeling again, with your teammates, with your club. For this group of players now, working hard together for a year and a half, it's the next step for them now to go and enjoy a game like this.”

Hi Ole, you're obviously making progress with United this season, but in terms of your own self-belief what would it mean to you to win a trophy and get one more on your CV?
“It's not about me. I've got enough self-belief. Whatever circumstances I've been in, I'm quietly confident as I've always said. I'm trusting the players. These players are ready for this. I've seen in them something growing inside of them, more and more robust and resillient to setbacks. I'm confident that we're ready for this now.”

I know you're not going to tell us what your team is but have you found the selection process difficult in terms of tough calls between one or two players?
“It's always difficult to leave players out but the final is a reward for what you've done through the whole season and if there's a doubt for a couple it's the form in the latter stages of course. We'll enjoy the last session and the players will get the team tomorrow.”

How we reached the Europa League final Video

How we reached the Europa League final

Retrace the steps along the road to Wednesday's big game in Gdansk...

Villarreal are the underdogs. How do you ease the weight of expectation and pressure that's hanging over your players?
“Every player who goes into a final has the expectation and pressure to win. You have to prepare to win, we plan to win, we expect to win but I'm sure Unai [Emery] feels the same with his team and his players. So that's no different. It's been a long qualification to get there and it's 50-50 when you get to a final. I feel, as I've said so many times now, confident that we are ready for this. In a final, anything can happen, you can concede a goal in the first minute, you can get an injury, get sent off, anything can happen, so we just have to be ready for anything. That's the thing with a final, it's decided there and then.”

Hi Ole, you've made great strides this season but for the season to be termed a success, do you have to win tomorrow?
“Yeah, of course, you go into every game with the next one as the most important one. This now is a final which happens to be the end of a season and you can define the season after tomorrow. So far we've improved but, as you say, we'll all go home happy only if we win tomorrow.”

Obviously your manager has quite a big history in European finals, what does he to do to prepare you for this big night?
“We prepare as we normally do for a game. Of course it's a final and everyone knows the importance of a final, but we prepare as we have done normally. It's not going to put any different pressure on the players because every game at Man United is important. If we suddenly change the way we prepare for a game - we have had to do that recently anyway because of all the games we've had - but we prepare as normally as we can and Bruno, yep, we can do some more videos tomorrow!”

You scored the winner on May 26th, 1999, it's your birthday on the 26th, your wife's birthday too, I think. Are you superstitious, do you see the omens aligning for you?
“To be superstitious is when it's something negative but when it's something positive, you think that it's going to work in your favour. So, I think it's gonna be a good omen for us but the players need to do their job and then maybe we can honour Sir Matt's birthday with another win.”

'Winning would mean the world to me' Video

'Winning would mean the world to me'

Daniel just can’t wait to experience his first European final as a United player…

You've been at the club for quite a while now and understand the pressures that come with it, what would it mean to Manchester United to win another European trophy?
“We have five wins in Europe. We've lost twice to Barcelona. These are big nights for us. It might be the stepping stone for something better to come. Bright future. This team is a young team. It's a team that we've rebuilt over the last couple of years so hopefully this is the start of something more. Of course Sir Alex is with us, we know that the 26th of May is Sir Matt's birthday. But the players when they sign for Man United, they sign to win trophies, they sign to accept the challenge of being the best because this is the best club in the world so that's the pleasure of the pressure of Man United. That's something they are ready for because they wouldn't have signed here if they weren't top players.”

United touch down in Poland Video

United touch down in Poland

Ole's 26-man squad flew to Gdansk on Monday, ready for a busy day of training and press conferences today...

You mentioned Sir Alex. How important is it to have him around in terms of his aura and the benefits you get from that?
“He flew out with us yesterday. Some of us, some of the players and the staff went to see his documentary, or Jason's documentary about his Dad, which was, I felt, I sat there thinking about this man and what he's done for the club. I'm sure Luke sat next to me felt the same. He's a special man. He's like an encyclopedia in football even though I got him on a quiz question yesterday... and one of the players got the answer before him! I'm sure he's not happy with that. Just to have him around, when we eat in the restaurant, I'm sure the players if they wonder about something, they can ask him. He's always available for a chat because this is the club in his heart. I hope he's gonna enjoy it tomorrow night because I have to say, I owe most of my career to him and this club, so hopefully he'll enjoy the night.”

What does this mean on a personal level, do you get a chance to take stock and think about what this might mean?
“No, I don't even think about that. Always think forward, always focus on making the right decision for the club, the players and this team. I never think on my own CV, definitely not. That's never been on my mind at all. I need to pick players that deserve to play and you need to make sure the team is ready. The coaches have been absolutely brilliant and the players have been ready for it. Just sit back and relax and if you have to make one or two decisions tomorrow, you have to do it. If it's been 10 minutes and Luke is sleeping on the other side, that's a problem for him!”

What was so bad about Concorde and is there anything else that you've learned from '99 that you've borrowed for the game tomorrow?
“That Concorde flight was horrible. You know, sometimes I get seasick as well, you know when it rolls you from side to side. I was sick and I had to go to the toilet, it was horrible. I think they got grounded not long after as well! What I learnt? Trust your team, trust your gut instinct. Obviously I'll tell the team, or especially the sub who are not starting., that they might have to play a big part for us because it's happened before. Be disappointed, be angry with me but be ready when you come on. And whoever starts, make sure you enjoy it because you don't play too many finals in your life.”