Ole's press conference to preview United v Blades
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer held another digital press conference this morning, to provide his opinions ahead of Wednesday’s Premier League match against Sheffield United.
Reporters also asked Solskjaer about the form of young United goalkeeper Dean Henderson, who is on loan with the Blades and therefore unavailable to face his parent club this week, as well as David De Gea, Angel Gomes and the prospect of playing behind closed doors at Old Trafford.
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We've got a fresh batch of training photos for you, as the Reds sharpened up for the Blades game.
"He’s been a part of the club for so long and we’re delighted he can see his future here, a long-term future., That’s what we needed - 2025 plus an option [of another year]. Scotty has been developing so much in the last few years. I watched him and was excited to come in and work with him. He’s such a humble, hard-working boy, with the Man United DNA. He knows what it takes to go through the ranks and he’s a leader on the pitch. We’re very happy that we’re going to work together towards winning trophies."
Is the Dean Henderson loan deal going to be extended, and does the same apply with Alexis Sanchez and Chris Smalling?
"I think so. That’s due to admin and the paperwork. Hopefully they’ll settle that. Dean’s had a fantastic year, as he did last year at Sheffield United. So far, he’s proven that the loans have worked out as we wanted."
"It’s a different job to be playing for Sheffield United than Man United. He’s got different roles. The two years he’s had have been fantastic for his development. He’s played with men, he’s had to play against men. He’s played in the Championship and has now played behind a team that plays fantastic football. As the stats show, he’s been worthy of quite a few points. He’s learning all the time and he’s a passionate keeper. He wants to be the best and has good coaching there. I’ve said it before, I think he’ll one day be England and United no.1. It’s up to him to keep developing."
Today is the last day you have to extend contracts before the end of the season. I just wondered if there’s any update on Angel Gomes?
"I’ve not spoken to anyone last night, or this morning, so the paperwork and the meetings that are going on, I can’t really update you on that."
Your current no.1, David De Gea, made a mistake on Friday. How do you deal with his form?
"David is the best goalkeeper in the world. He’s conceded two goals in the last seven games he’s played for us. There’s a few games against [Manchester] City, Chelsea, Tottenham and Everton. Two goals in seven games, he’s been on a run of not conceding goals. The two goals… the Everton one is a freak one and this one, maybe he can save it, maybe he can’t save it. He makes great saves and wins games for us and I still think he’s the best goalkeeper in the world. He’s not making errors that you see time and time again. I’m really happy with his work. David is working consistently hard in training and I’m happy with his work."
Do you ever have to talk to him about errors being magnified?
"I speak to David, yeah. He’s been at United now for nine years - next year is his 10th season. He’s developed into a mature keeper. For me, the best keeper in the world. He’s had some fantastic seasons. I don’t think it’s a bad run when you concede two goals in seven games against the teams we’ve played against. He’s made some match-winning saves. He saved a point for us against Tottenham with the save straight after the goal. He’s a mentally very strong keeper. I speak to him every day."
When you faced Tottenham it felt like they were stronger than maybe before with having the likes of Son and Harry Kane and Moussa Sissoko back fit. You’re facing Sheffield United without John Egan, who’s a big part of their defence. We’ve talked about the goalkeeper being missing already. Jack O’Connell might be missing too. Do you feel like this is a good time to face them?
"I don’t know Chris [Wilder] well but I know Chris well enough to know he’s got his team fired up for this game after a disappointing loss against Newcastle. I’m sure that he’s challenged his team to go to Old Trafford and prove what they’ve proved the whole season. It’s great to play again but I don’t think there’s any better time now than before. Sometimes a wounded animal is worse to play against. For me, I’m sure we’ll get a Sheffield United team that’s fired up."
How much are you looking forward to walking out at Old Trafford again?
"We love walking out at Old Trafford. Of course, walking out in front of our fans is an exceptional experience. Now it’s a different experience but we have the urge to get back to playing, winning games, of course, for our fans that are watching on telly. We’ll go out there and put our best performance on hopefully."
That first game against Sheffield United, the 3-3 draw, it was a difficult first 70 minutes of that game. How much has that side progressed since then?
"I feel we are developing all the time. We played against a very difficult opponent, in a difficult stadium. The fans were helping, I think if you look at the first goal that would be a foul if you don’t have the fans on to the referee. Anyway, they played exceptionally well that night. We had a 15/20 minute spell that we were exhilarating as well. That’s when we showed what we are capable of. We’re getting more and more consistent and hopefully we can get that consistency and more penetration, forward passes, runs in behind and hopefully, we can see that tomorrow night."
Hi Ole. Is there anything easier about playing behind closed doors, in terms of getting your instructions across? Have your players said it might be easier in some respects?
"I’m not sure easier is the right word. It’s a different way of playing, of course. It’s a different mental challenge for the players. It might make some players feel more at ease and relaxed a bit more. Some thrive off the enthusiasm and the passion of the fans and get that extra energy out of it. But for coaches, we get the messages across, but the opponent coach can listen. It’s certainly a very different way. It might be, if you’re at home and you’re struggling, you get the home fans on your back. You struggle with that. Now you can relax a bit more. For us, we will miss our fans because until this day I’ve not heard fans in the world being so supportive of their team and seeing their team, spurring them on. For me, it’s more difficult for us to play at Old Trafford with no fans than with fans because they’re so passionate and want us to do well."
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