Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

City v United: Solskjaer's press conference in full

Tuesday 28 January 2020 10:49

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer held a press conference this morning to preview Manchester United’s Carabao Cup semi-final second leg against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night.

The manager began the media briefing by discussing the balance of the tie, typically expressing confidence that his squad can stage a spirited comeback despite losing 3-1 in the first leg at Old Trafford.

As you can read in the full transcript below, Ole also revealed that Nemanja Matic has a minor fitness problem and admitted that Alexis Sanchez will return this summer from a loan spell at Internazionale…

Good morning. It's a Manchester derby, that kind of changes things, but after the first game, a lot of people thought it was dead and buried. However, there seems to be almost a different feeling going into the second game, perhaps of the time between the two legs?
“Well, it looked like it was over at half-time, because I have to say in the second part of that first half they outplayed us for a while and it was hard, but then when we got the goal of course, you're back in it. We hope for another one, but now we've got to go into the memory bank and think about PSG, because [that proves] we've done it against good teams before and it gives us some hope. And the game in December, of course, gives us hope that we can do something there.”

Scoring two goals isn't easy. But is the bigger challenge stopping them from scoring?
“Well, it has to be a perfect performance to win with two goals against such a good team away from home. For us, it's not about away goals, we just need to score two more than them, so when they happen and how it happens... if we concede two, we need to score four, so it will be good not to concede first, because that makes it less difficult.”
Solskjaer: Our plan for Man City Video

Solskjaer: Our plan for Man City

Ole tells the media how he views our second-leg task at the Etihad Stadium...

I know it's risking wasting a question asking about Bruno Fernandes and you're smiling already...
“Yeah, you're wasting it! So don't ask it!”

Is there anything positive? I know City is more important as a game, but in terms of getting personnel in, is that going to happen?
“I haven't got any updates for you on transfers. Yeah, I think it was a waste [of a question]. I gave you the option, but I haven't got anything to say now. My mind is just on the game.”

Are you guys having to think outside the box though? January is a tough window. If you are to do a deal, are you having to think a little bit differently?
“Well, we've got players here that are working hard to get back as well and if there is something out there then the club are pursuing that and looking at it and of course it is the difficult window, it's always been. I can't remember how many good ones we've brought in, good deals that we've brought in during January. Henrik was good, Nemanja and Patrice, they were [good ones] too. Henrik was a loan. It's hard, it's very hard. The clubs don't want to lose their best players, so Alexis will come back in the summer and prove you all wrong.”

What about outgoings? Marcos Rojo, he hasn't played for a while. There's lots of talk about him. Is he one who is possibly leaving?
“I wouldn't think so. Marcos has been injured and he's been working to get back and get fit again. At the moment it doesn't look like it, no.”
And the squad looks all right heading into this game after Prenton Park?
“[It's] just Nemanja who had a slight problem, so he had to come off at half-time and he's played loads of football, so hopefully, hopefully we can get him back on the pitch tomorrow. I haven't seen him since yesterday.”

Ole, you were talking about getting players back, so is there anything positive that you can say about the likes of Pogba? Obviously we know Rashford's recently injured and McTominay. Is there anything at all out of those three that you can put a timescale on?
“It's hard to put timescales on long-term injuries, because they also need the training before they're injury free and they need to be match fit or fitter to be able to play. Paul has had his cast off and Scott's took his braces off, so at least now they can start doing work on the grass soon.”
Ole's update on three midfielders Video

Ole's update on three midfielders

Watch what the manager said about Nemanja Matic, Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba...

You just mentioned before about needing a perfect performance against Manchester City. Obviously the fans have had a couple of good days at the Etihad in recent memory. December 7 was a special day for United, but how do you replicate that now? Are you in better shape now to go there and do that than you were then?
“They're getting players back as well and I think we hit them last time when they were struggling a little bit and since then they've really, really played well. For me we've lost Scott and Marcus since that game, so of course we're a little bit lighter in the player department, but we can't just defend. We have to go out there and try to keep the ball as well and make them run after the ball which isn't too easy because they're one of the best pressing teams as well. So, a perfect performance it has to be, but we've done amazing things before at this club and the PSG game is for me a very, very good example of how you can make a two-goal deficit work in your favour, because we need the first goal.”

Ole, I know you don't have to worry about FA Cup replays now, but I just wonder what your thoughts are on some teams that will have to now play in the winter break, and particularly obviously Jurgen Klopp's stance that he's going to put out his youth team?
“Cup replays? I think we all regret maybe not going for it [entering the FA Cup] in 2000, when we went to the world club tournament in Brazil and it's never nice not to be participating. At least they're participating. It's supposed to be a break and if we're going to help the English clubs, they need a break, but that's up to Jurgen and Liverpool to make decisions. Jose and Tottenham, they've got a replay [too], so we're just happy we didn't get a replay ourselves, because it was playing on our mind as well - what's going to happen if [we draw]? Maybe three days' less holiday.”
The reporter's view Video

The reporter's view

BBC Radio's Bill Rice gives his thoughts on how United could overturn the first-leg deficit against City…

In 1999 when you won the Treble, did you ever have those worries about if we go so far in all competitions, it will jeopardise the one we really want? Or was that never in your mind?
“Never in our minds and definitely not in my mind, because I love the FA Cup and [it meant] I could play games. I played in the semi-final, in the final, so when you've got a big squad, it's a challenge to win those three [trophies] and we did. It's always going to be down in history as the greatest season that an English club has ever done.”

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