Watch the second part of Ole's press conference
Check out what United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told the media ahead of our encounter with Sheffield United...
Neil Custis: You’ve been on a fantastic run but have you found, looking at your own career, that certain games can give teams that extra belief, and could that game have Sunday’s against Liverpool? Such a high-profile match that prevailed in sort of dramatic circumstances. Ole: “Of course, a game like this can be pivotal, can be important. I think we’ve shown in the two Liverpool games, the two City games as well that we’ve played lately, that we are competitive when we play on our own terms. Over the years we have won a few of those games by tweaking the system, changing and suiting just for one game. I wanted to get to a place where we can into these games and feel competitive, and we have done. Of course, we have beaten Liverpool, City beat us, but it could easily have been the other way around in both games, such tight games. But that we are in these games and playing on our own terms, we feel we’re creating chances, and can win everyone of them, that’s been a big step forward for us. Looking back at the past seasons, we’ve had some decent results against City before as well and good performances against Liverpool, yet they beat us last year 2-0. That’s the one defeat we’ve had against them. This period is the first time we’ve gone with the way we normally set up the team.” Neil Custis: Dwight Yorke was saying last weekend that one of the big differences in the team is that you are now treating the matches against the sides that are struggling at the bottom with the same emphasis as big games. Is that a mindset that you’ve worked on changing, to make sure that happens? Ole: “Well, of course, I’ve been part of the team that’s been winning leagues by making sure you perform to the best of your ability every game. It doesn’t matter who you play against. That might mean, in some of the big games, you might lose, and that if they’re tight, you might not get the result you want. If you add the consistency in the games, on paper, you should be winning and everyone thinks there’s an easy fixture down the line… It’s never an easy fixture in the Premier League. We’ve had good, strong defensive set-up, I think that’s the key to it. The ability to work hard and make sure we keep the ball out of our net because we got the quality to score.” Paul Hirst: Just coming back to Mason and Edinson again. We saw on the weekend when Greenwood scored, Edinson sort of went to him and looked like he was giving him some advice and congratulated him on the strike. Do you know what that was about? And do you see them quite regularly having those sort of conversations at Carrington? I see the players speak to each other all the time and Edinson with his experience can be really helpful. He’s there as a back-up, he’s there as a mentor, it doesn’t matter if it’s Marcus or Anthony or Dan or Mason. They’ve all got things to learn from Edinson. The more humble you are, the more humble you are to learn, the more you listen, the better you will become. Of course, Edinson has played in every single position to score a goal or two win a ball back throughout his career. There’s so much for them to learn off him. James Ducker: He doesn’t speak English, or not fluently yet, how is his English coming along and how does the communication work with team-mates? Also, you touched on it there, off the field, how was he, for example, when he was suspended and couldn’t play, how was he around the group on that point as well? Ole: “Obviously, the football language is one common language. He’s learnt the most important words. He can’t sit down and the hour-long analysis with players but we have Juan, Nemanja, Bruno, Paul and they help out and do the translation at times. Fair play to them, that they spend time when we have meetings, squad meetings, if there’s something he wants to lay across, he’s never shy to let his message across and the player will help. Some of the coaches, of course, speak the language as well. I don’t unfortunately, going back to my school days I regret not learning Spanish, German don’t help me a lot here in England. “The ban was just… It was a week. A three-match ban can sometimes be a month so it was luckily for us just eight days or something. He worked really hard, had a few days off and was ready to go.” Samuel Luckhurst: I think about four or five players have played on the right win this season and fans have for a long time regarded that as a problem position. With what you’ve seen from Amad, and the potential that he’s shown in Italy, is there a confidence there that he can be the long-term option for that position? Well, that’s his preferred position. He’s clever at finding space, he can go inside and outside. He’ll get the time to prove that he is the one. Along the way, we got Mason, we got Marcus who’s played there, Dan, Juan, so we got options, Paul has played there. When you look at the squad and you look at Amad you think yeah, that’s probably where we will work to fit him in. Chris Wheeler: You’ve talked about players that might be going out or could go out perhaps in the final few days of the window. Is there a chance of players coming in still? Ole: “I wouldn’t think so, no. I would be surprised if did any incomings. The squad is strong and full of quality, we still need to leave the players out for the squad at times. Bar something surprising happening, I wouldn’t think there would be incomings, no. Laurie Whitwell: You’ve mentioned previously, Bruno’s advice to players and sometimes it can be quite forceful to players if he sees an issue he wants to point out. We’ve seen on some occasions that there have been arguments on the pitch. Did you know that he was the kind of character that you were signing when you brought him to the club and do you sort of having to mediate those clarifications when it can get heated? Ole: “I knew hat was what we were getting. I saw him live and he was in every team-mates ear in that game, I think he was in the referee’s ear, the linesman he was into. You know, I like that. I’ve been part of a dressing room that was like that every single day, every training. If you want to survive at Man United you will need to be able to receive messages and advice. We’re all doing it to be better, we’re not doing it to put someone down. We’re making sure we made the right decision for the team. Of course, that’s the winning mentality that I want to see. I have to do it less if all the players have that quality. Jamie Jackson: Just with regard to Mason again. He played obviously unbelievably well post lockdown last season. Was there a danger that he could be dazzled by the light of that success? Did you have to sort of steady him, because he’s only a young player and did play unbelievably. Was that an issue for you? Ole: “You know, it’s always a challenge. Everything is a test and a challenge. Suddenly, players like… We talk about the second season syndrome. If you take your eye off the ball, just for a slight second, the Premier is unforgiving. I’ve always said 99 per cent effort is 100 per cent failure. Of course, players who ease off in training every single little day a little bit… I’m not saying this is Mason, this is every single one. It’s always a learning curve and always a test. I feel now we have maybe overcome those issues. They know my demands, they know the standards and habits. We got running stats and I look at it every game. There’s no hiding place and I’m not hiding that back either. I want players who can outrun the opponent. That’s a demand. Again, when you got quality on players, sometimes you can accept a little bit less running but not much. Because it takes a hell of a good player to be able to rest... Maybe once or twice, Ronaldo was allowed a rest back in the day but not many more have been allowed to at Man United.