Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

United v Watford: Ole's press conference in full

Friday 21 February 2020 10:24

While in Belgium on Thursday night, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer held a press conference to preview Manchester United’s Premier League match against Watford at Old Trafford this Sunday.

The media briefing was conducted at the Jan Breydel Stadion following the Reds’ 1-1 draw with Club Brugge and, as you can read in the full transcript below, reporters focused the bulk of their questions on Anthony Martial, Scott McTominay and the need for consistency. 

Solskjaer was also asked to provide updates on youngsters Tahith Chong and Angel Gomes, after both featured in an Under-19s friendly in Belgium on Thursday afternoon. Read the latest news and views from the manager, here…
Highlights: Club Brugge 1 United 1 Video

Highlights: Club Brugge 1 United 1

Watch both goals and all the key moments from our first leg in Belgium...

United haven’t had someone who can score 20 in a season since Zlatan. Can Martial become a striker who scores more than 20 goals a season?
“Well Marcus has got 19, don’t forget, and if we can get him back on the pitch [he will score more]. But yeah, I think Anthony can step up and get a few more and get to the 20 mark, yeah.”

What does he give your team?
“Well he’s got quality, of course, he’s a very good finisher, he takes his chances really well, he has good technique in his finishing, he’s good receiving the ball at times and good at dropping off. He is playing like a false nine at times as well. Sometimes I’d like him to be stronger physically but that will come.”

That headed goal at Chelsea on Monday – do you need to see more like that?
“It was a classic 1980s striker goal! Yeah, definitely, I’m encouraged by his attitude this season as well. He is wanting to do them things that are not natural for him but you’ve got to make him set at no.9 again after playing wide for so many years. Anthony and Marcus have played wide for a few years until the last 12 months really.”
After two appearances now, could Odion Ighalo start against Watford on Sunday? Players often raise their games against former clubs…
“Everyone says that when they score against their old team, but there are also many games when you don’t score against your old team. Odion is getting more and more minutes, it depends on Mason as well of course, and Anthony how he is.”

Is there a chance that Scott McTominay could play?
“I think he might be in the squad. He had a rest day today, so let’s see how he is tomorrow.”

And what about Mason Greenwood?
“Mason’s been ill.”
Just on Scott, are you surprised by how quickly he has recovered?
“No, no I’m not surprised because that’s the type he is.”

What does he give you, Scott?
“Well he’s a physical specimen, he’s a leader. He never shirks a tackle and he brings everyone with him. He can sit with Nemanja and Fred, or he could be one of the runners in midfield. Talking about that here today, we don’t really have enough runs past the striker. He used to be a striker, Scott, so he’s used to being in the box.”

Does this match against Watford remind you of the 2-0 loss there at Vicarage Road?
“That was a very disappointing game. We should have won that one. We gifted their two goals and we had chances to put away ourselves but you can’t win games if you don’t take chances.”
Solskjaer on Brugge, Martial and the Bruno effect Video

Solskjaer on Brugge, Martial and the Bruno effect

Ole discusses 'a game of errors' and Brugge's fortunate opening goal...

On your decision to play Angel Gomes and Tahith Chong in an Under-19s friendly against Club Brugge - where does that leave them with their contracts expiring?
“Yes. We’re still in talks with them. Tahith scored [on Thursday] and I’d rather he play a game than sit in the stands, so he’s just making sure he’s ready when he gets a chance. He played really well against Wolverhampton in the FA Cup and I was very pleased with him. The boys have got great attitudes. They’re absolutely top-class boys and we’re doing what we can to keep them, because in a few years we can see them being very, very good players.”

You've struggled for consistency this season, especially in the league. You're going to need that in the run in. How do you develop that? How do you get that consistency that you're going to need if you're going to get that fourth or fifth spot? 
“Yeah, of course, it is team selection, you’ve got to maybe rotate in Europe like we’ve done, then maybe go back to what we were at Chelsea last week, or this week. Play three games in a week here, but take our chances. I feel that Bruno and Odion coming in will get more goals in the team. That’s been lacking. The games we’ve lost - West Ham, Burnley, Palace, Bournemouth - we’ve had chances but we haven’t scored goals. Definitely today we can see Bruno gives us another dimension.”

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