Part two of Ole's Brighton press conference
Check out the second half of the manager's pre-match press conference ahead of our clash with the Seagulls...
Just looking at the international break, once again, Jesse did absolutely superbly and was kind of an outstanding performer for England. I know you sent him out on loan to West Ham to get some game time and he's doing exceptionally well there, proving his quality. West Ham have hopes now of signing him permanently in the summer. I'm guessing that the way he's performing has reignited your desire to keep him at United in the summer. If he's playing well at the Euro's, you can't be seeming to sell a player of his quality? “I’ve always rated Jesse very highly. For different reasons it hasn’t worked out for the last year or so but he knows what I feel about him, he knows both as a person and as a player. The way he’s handled the things you that people know about… I’ve tried to help as well as I can but seeing the way he has handled it has been an example for everyone to follow. He’s kept his head down, focused on his football and he gets his reward, focusing on his performances, getting back for England, got three caps. He came on in two and started one and played really well. It’s great. On a personal level you’re so happy for Jesse because you know how hard he’s worked for this. On a professional level, we know what he can do and of course he’s a United player. He’s been in the Academy, he knows what we expect, the standard here. He’s definitely helped his own career in that way.” Was this always just a temporary thing to get him playing agains and to get his confidence up and to get him back into your squad for next time? “Sometimes as a manager you can think only about yourself and your squad. The selfish thing would’ve been to keep Jesse because he would’ve got the chance. He knows that. We made the decision to let him go, that was a personal decision that he was going to benefit from and we knew West Ham were going to benefit from it. With everything Jesse’s done for the club, he deserved to play more towards the end of the season because there’s a big Euro’s in the summer and we hope he’s going to be part of it.” In the previous last transfer windows we've seen it going down to the wire, right down to the deadline before players come in. Someone has a good Euros, there's a chance the price goes up. How important is it to get things done early? With John Murtagh and everything, how confident are you and how important is it? “Every manager in the world would like to have the players available as soon as possible and put the plans and the coaching together. That’s not how the world works all the time. If your target is the one and you’ve got to stay until the last day… Say Bruno, for example. We had to wait but we knew he was the one for us. That worked out well. I think players can adapt very quickly, they can adapt to a new team very quickly if they’re the right fit. We do our recruitment, scouting and hopefully everything is moving along nicely.” I see what you’re saying and with certain players, you’ve just got to wait. There are a lot of other clubs that seem to get business done quicker. And a lot of times United have gone right to the wire. It’s United, why can’t things get done quicker? Are you hopeful they will be this time? “As I said, all the managers would like the squad sorted as soon as possible but I’m not the one in the trenches, with the negotiations. I’ll leave that to the club and so far I think they’ve done a very good job. We’ve got the targets we really wanted and we’ve been building, we’ve been strengthening the squad and there’s always an opportunity every transfer window, even though this one will be different to any transfer window that’s ever happened because of the pandemic and all the money teams have lost.” Ole it’s well-known you’re going to be in the market for a striker this summer, depending on what happens with Cavani. Aguero’s just announced he’s going to be leaving Man City. I’m not asking you to comment specifically on Aguero, but is a deal with a rival like that possible? It’s very rare a player moves between the Manchester clubs and even rarer a player moves from City to United. Obviously Tevez went the other way but is it possible for a deal like that to be done in the modern game? “When I played for Man United, if a rival club would try to sign me and I’d gone to a rival club, where’s the loyalty. Of course, loyalty is one of the values I put highly. So I wouldn’t expect any player who had played for a club for 10 years to want to go to a local rival. I know we’re professional but when you play for Man United, you don’t go to Man City. We’ve had examples of that and I didn’t really agree to those moves, to put it that way. I don’t want to name names, but you all know who I point my fingers at. Enough said.” Ole, you and your players and the club in general have been brilliant in your response to racism. I just wonder, if you don’t see an improvement in the coming months and year, would you like to see something like Thierry Henry’s done, with high-profile players – you, yourself, the football club – boycott these platforms until something’s done? “I respect Thierry’s decision to do that but then again social media is a good platform to do good things. Marcus is probably the best example on the other way. You’ve got a chance to make a difference using the platform. Whatever decisions will happen, the main thing is that we’ve got to stop this now. It’s unacceptable that it’s possible to abuse and discriminate under a false name. For me, the platforms have to be stronger with validating accounts and all this.” Ole, you spoke about the importance of Paul Pogba in the dailies section but there’s no sign of a new contract at the moment. If that’s the case in the summer, as the person in charge of the footballing side, would you be arguing to keep him for another year and risk losing him on a free? Is that important, rather than the business side of trying to sell him and get cash for him? Is that a trade-off you’ve got to have in the summer? “Paul, when he’s been fit or been at the club, has always wanted the best for Man United. He’s been such an important part of the squad, both on and off the pitch. Paul is a player we want to see play well at Man United. For me, just to have him back fit for the last two months is going to be important for us. We know that he can be the difference between many, many points or going through in Europe, like we did against Milan. The focus now is on finishing the season strongly and Paul knows what my thoughts are.” A quick one on Donny as well, if that’s alright. He didn’t start any of Holland’s three games in the international break and we know he’s had a stop-start season, where he’s not fully settled yet. Have you noticed his confidence or spark being affected this season? How do you manage him through that and get him firing for next season? “He scored some absolute crackers in training this morning! Sometimes, it’s natural that if you don’t play, you have injuries, you lose a bit of confidence, that spark, you go away with your national team… I can talk from my own experience. Sometimes I went away to play with Norway and came back, just to get the feel about yourself back and feel better. He’s come back and in training this morning he scored some absolute top, top goals that I’d be really proud of myself. It’s done him the world of good going away, scoring a goal for Holland. We hope we can see a lot of that for the next seven or eight weeks of the season and then to kick on again.” It’s understandable, particularly this season, that players are carrying knocks. I noticed Marcus’s representative said he’s not been fully fit for two seasons. With the congested end to the season and the Euros coming up, is it a concern you won’t see 100 per cent fit Marcus for quite some time? “I don’t have any concerns about Marcus’s general fitness. Every footballer carries a little bit here and there. Very seldom are you 100 per cent fit. You might be 95 per cent fit, or 99 per cent fit. I don’t think anyone, at this level, will say ‘I feel 100 per cent’. You might say you feel 100 per cent, but you do feel a strain or something. I’ve been impressed by Marcus’s resilience, his robustness. He wants to play. He’s got a character that even when he’s feeling something, he doesn’t want to miss games because he loves Man United and football too much to sit out. He wants to feel he’s given everything. All credit to him and of course hopefully the little knocks and what he’s carrying, we’ve got great staff to look after him. There’s not been too much of a concern or a worry. There’s never been a risk that we’ve felt will damage him. That’s just the way, when you’re a professional footballer. Especially now with a game every three or four days. It’s been relentless this season, we’ve not had the time. We’ve not even had the possibility, sometimes you send them away for a week – they can go to a sunny place. That will hopefully come back again, that we can look after the players. This season has been very, very tough on the players and I’m impressed by all of them.”