Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Ole's press conference to preview Norwich v United

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had trophies on his mind when he held a virtual press conference earlier today, to preview Manchester United’s Emirates FA Cup quarter-final against Norwich City.

The Reds are hard at work preparing to face the Canaries at Carrow Road on Saturday evening (17:30 BST kick-off), with a place in the last four of the historic competition up for grabs. 

While speaking to the reporters ahead of the game, Solskjaer admitted he is likely to make changes to his starting XI and explained why Jesse Lingard was missing from the squad on Wednesday night. There was also a word of praise for buccaneering right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka following his assist in midweek. 

Here, you can read a full transcript of the manager's latest media briefing...

Norwich v United: Watch Ole's press conferenceVideo

First of all, Liverpool won the title last night - what are your thoughts looking at that?
“Any team who wins the league deserves it. They deserve credit, it’s a hard league to win. So well done to Jurgen [Klopp] and his players. For me, every time you see someone lift the trophy it hurts. I reckon that’s the feeling that everyone associated with Man United has - players, staff, supporters. That’s our challenge.”

How far away do you think you are? Klopp has been there for four year and everyone sees the potential of your side. How far do you think you are away from where Liverpool are?
“I don’t think now is the right time to say how far you are we behind. Of course, we are in this position now where we need to improve. We need to get into the Champions League, higher in the league and start challenging for trophies. The consistency and the efficiency they’ve shown, that’s the challenge for us. We know at our best we are very good and we need to do that every Saturday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday - whatever day it is. That’s the challenge for our players going forward.”
As much as Liverpool deserved it, it must put a fire under you guys and the FA Cup is the type of competition that can act as catalyst for further success…
“The FA Cup is a fantastic tournament and it’s a fantastic final to play a part in. It’s a fantastic trophy to lift. For our team, it’s a new team and to win our first trophy or title could be fantastic and, hopefully, a catalyst for things to come. We are very focused on doing our best and getting through to the next round, and then hopefully, to the final.”

You have the added complications of travelling and the going away to Norwich and Brighton. We have heat and lots of fixtures - are we going to see a rotation of the squad tomorrow?
“With the long lay off we’ve had, to be looking after the players is one of our jobs at the moment. Rotation - we played Wednesday, Saturday, Tuesday and then it’s Saturday again. There’s heat and everything, so there will be a few changes, but if you want to be a part of a winning Man United team you have to make a couple of changes. That’s the situation we’re in. We all agreed on trying to finish the season and we’re going to do our best to put performances on and make sure the players are safe.”

Watch all of our FA Cup goals this seasonVideo

I just want to ask you about Jesse Lingard. He scored the winner in the FA Cup final in 2016. He hasn’t featured much this season for a variety of reasons, I think he’s started one Premier League game in 2020. What does the future hold for him, Ole?
“Jesse has come back after the lockdown with a smile on his face, loads of energy. Unfortunately, last week he fell ill for a couple of days but we’ve done all the tests and he’s fine. He’ll be involved against Norwich now and hopefully he can kick on. Jesse, as you say, has scored vital goals for us and he’s a vital player for us, so let’s see what the future will hold. At the moment he’s looking really sharp and focused.”

Ole there’s been consistent progress in 2020. Are you still expecting there to be a few bumps along the road as you try to get United back to the very top?
“Well, I expect the players to turn up every time they wear the Man United shirt, to perform to their abilities, under the circumstances. No, I don’t expect bumps. I don’t go and look for bumps. Of course, you play against different teams, difficult teams that want to win and challenge us. But for us, every game is a chance to prove you’re good enough for Man United and that we are on the right track, so every game when you play for Man United is a game you can win. So for us, it’s a challenge now to keep the consistency. We’ve shown what we can do at our best and I think there’s longer and longer periods before the lows so at the moment, no I’m not looking for a bump. That’s your short answer!”

There was another really impressive performance for Aaron Wan-Bissaka going forward on Wednesday. A lot of people already see him as the best defensive right-back in the Premier League, has he already exceeded your expectations? Did you ever think he was going to be this good?
“We saw an exceptional defender when I watched him last season. He had a couple of games especially against [Leroy] Sane, against Manchester City, and you think: ‘wow, he’s so hard to go past’. Then when we managed to sign him you get to know him and he’s a shy boy, but still he’s providing more and more assists and creating more chances and crosses. It’s in him, because he’s been a winger. The best full-backs, at the moment, sometimes they have been wingers. We rely on the full-backs to go forward in the way we want to play and I’m very pleased with his progress.”

I suppose we should mention Liverpool Ole, and with it being the FA Cup, your last-minute winner against them in ’99. Was that your best moment in the competition and how important is this competition, especially this season, to you and your players?
“The FA Cup is fantastic. When I was a young boy back home it was always the last game and the climax of the season – the game you look forward to. It was always broadcast live on telly in Norway and for me, yeah, that goal against them was probably the best moment in the FA Cup for me, apart from, of course, when you walk up the Old Wembley steps in ’99, the final. I played a part in the first goal, winning the ball, so that was a proud moment for me. My dad was in the stands. I’ve lifted it twice as a player so hopefully I can get a chance to walk out at Wembley again. It’s a fantastic tournament, it’s always been the big one. I’m not sure if the youngsters today really understand how much it means, but I think our players, they certainly realise.”

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