Watch part two of Ole’s press conference
Don’t miss the second half of the manager’s press conference, as he discusses Cavani’s future…
The journalists on here came remember 2013, I know Fergie [Sir Alex Ferguson] left but David Gill left at the same time, it kind of was a real transition period after this, you’ve done so much to improve the club, there’s stability and a pathway forward now for United, it would be a shame with Ed [Woodward] going if that is all torn up, are you quite confident that you will be able to carry on the same path after he’s left and there won’t be any other kind of transition period? And do you have any influence or role to make sure that happens? I’m pretty sure we will be able to move on and move forward. We have to deal with Ed’s departure, we’ve had very good working relationship, he brought me in here, he supported me. I’ve not been involved in discussions about the successor. But if they ask my opinion, or if it comes to that, I’ll voice my option on what we need but I’m sure the club is capable of moving forward. Just following up on this subject, would a candidate like Edwin van der Sar be the kind of or ideal because like you, he’s an ex-United great, he’s won the Champions League, Premier Leagues, but also with regards to the actual job we’re talking about here, he’s a chief executive, so would that be, not necessarily just him, but it’s all about the United culture. So, would you be open to that kind of employment? It’s important that we employ the right man of course, we can’t employ on sentiment but to have Man United’s best interests at heart, that’s one of the criteria of course. But I’m not the one who writes the job description, my job now is to focus on the results but whoever comes in, I’m hopeful I can have a good relationship with and a good working relationship with of course, and I can provide result. The Glazer family have been at Old Trafford now for 16 years, obviously the Super League was part of a plan by all owners to try and look after their clubs going forward, that’s clear. Do the Glazers still remain fiercely committed to United, do you still see them as long-term ownership of the club remaining pretty much as it has for the last 16 years? You’ve said you’ve got a good working relationship with them. I’ve had an open and good relationship with them yes and they’ve been supportive of me, backing me, and we’ve shown that in the players we’ve signed as well that we are committed to improving, they are committed to improve. We know there’s other projects that we work on that we don’t always broadcast on here, it’s all about improving the club, improving the infrastructure, improving the facilities and improving the squad. So, I’m very confident they will remain committed. One of the big principles and big motivating forces behind the ESL was finance and ensuring clubs like Manchester United, big clubs who maybe in the past have quite rightly wanted to trade on their name, their value, their global appeal, and get a bigger slice of the pot which is understandable. A lot of it seems to be based on clubs like United making money in the future in the difficult time, are you worried that because this has not happened now, that you may not get the finance you want to drive this team and squad forward in the next two or three years, particularly after a Covid pandemic? And secondly, we’ve heard reports today from South America that [Edinson] Cavani has asked to leave if you could address that. I can answer the second one first, we are still in the same boat with Edinson. He’s not one hundred percent decided, he’s not told me that he wants to leave but I’m very aware that he might be going back home to South America with the difficult year he’s had and if that’s his decision, I understand. He knows my view, he knows that I would love to see him play in front of the Man United fans, with a year that we can get the fans back in. It’s important that he makes the decision not with anything else in mind. He wants a successful end to the season and that might sway him because he knows that I love working with him, the boys really love having him around and it’s important that we give him as much time as possible. I think the whole pandemic and the situation in the country has been difficult, particularly for him, maybe not speaking the language, maybe not having your friends around. So that’s one bit. With regards to finances, transfers and the market, after this year it’s changed but I’m very positive and hopeful we can still follow through with the plans we’re working on. I don’t think that will change at all, I think we’ll still have a good opportunity to do what we have planned to do. You mentioned before that the Glazers’ commitment to the club and how they seem to be in it for the long term, but the strength of feeling is obviously very high among the fanbase at the moment as you saw yesterday. There’s talk of a protest before the Liverpool game, the way things are at the moment, you can rule out protests in the stands next season. So, if the owners and fans remain so divided and there’s protests in stadiums, at some point that might have an affect on your time so how do you go about unifying everyone at the club, is that something that you can play a part in? And do you worry that if there are protests inside the stadium, that can have a knock on effect on players? They’re professionals, they are very good at playing football and that’s what the focus has to be on. We have to play as well as we can and get the supporters on our side. I think the owners at every club who signed up or discussed this proposal have a job on their hands, of course they have. We’ve had an apology from Joel [Glazer] and I think that’s important, he’s told us how committed he is to help us going forward. Unity and everyone working together for one common goal is of course the best way forward. Over the last couple of days, we’ve seen some of your players show real courage, I’m thinking Luke Shaw, Bruno Fernandes, Marcus [Rashford], in making their feelings known about the Super League and being genuine with their position which probably wasn’t easy for them to do as it’s going against their employers to a certain extent. But are you proud or pleased to have players who are strong in that way and able to use their voice in that way? You were talking about the need to listen to fans, do you think football needs to listen to players if it wants to make changes like this moving forward? Of course, we need to listen to the players. It’s very important. We’ve had this discussion. We know that the new format of the Champions League gives the players more games. We need to look after the players, we really have to look after the players and their chance to perform at the best level. I know there’s money in this but there’s human beings and as I’ve said, I want the best possible product and the best possible games of football. The magic of a semi-final or a final, now we’re going towards the end of the season and players are playing every two or three days. It’s hard to play at your maximum level after long seasons with all these games. Of course, they want to be part of a final, they want to be part of the Euros, the World Cup. Are we preparing them to play at the highest possible standard? That’s the challenge. We need to listen to them of course but everyone knows this year has been particularly difficult and special because of the pandemic. I think football has been a release for everyone form the, call it, sanity but the mental health of the people, of the players as well. We’ve been privileged to play games, but the product will be better when one, the fans are back in, so we need to listen to the fans. But it will be better if we got a couple more days before every game. This week has been fantastic for us, we’ve had a week for the first time since August 2019 without a midweek game, without the obvious break up in Marbella for the mid-season break last year and then the project restart. To get the best possible product, there’s many ways we can do that but listen to the fans, listen to the players, listen to us managers. Do you think it’s almost inevitable when you face clubs, the ESL clubs, that will be highly motivated after what the six tried to do last week and we’ve almost seen that already with some of the results and first halves against ESL teams? I think you’re underestimating players. They’re just as motivated in every game, every time you play against Man United, they are one hundred percent motivated and if they’re not, they’re playing the wrong game. I’d expect my players to be as motivated for every single game because it might be the last one you play. I said earlier on, the fear of failure has to be there. I want my players to be afraid of losing every game, of course I want them to perform, enjoy the game, work for something and want to win, but if you ask me the five games I remember the ones the most, it’s the ones we’ve lost – the finals, the big games in the league. I don’t want to feel that failure again. So, anyway, the short answer is no, I don’t think there is more motivation, I think it’s the same as it should be anyway. Looking at the Leeds game in particular, a lot of the other bosses and even the hipsters, they all say that [Marcelo] Bielsa is some sort of managerial mentor. But however, his side plays, his trophy cabinet is hardly bulging, where do you stand on that? Because surely he can’t top the guy you played for and he won it in a certain manner as well. Where do you see Bielsa in comparison to certain others? Of course, I admire Bielsa for his ideas and the teams he’s made but my mentor is of course Sir Alex Ferguson. I played under him for 11 years, I worked under him for four years, I still speak to him. Of course, Sir Alex is my mentor and role model as a manager. I’ve learnt so much about everything that regards football from him, and I hope that I’ve learnt a little bit that will bring us some success.