Arsenal away: Ole's press conference
The manager previewed our clash with Arsenal and looked ahead to 2020 in his media briefing, conducted on Saturday...
It has been a positive month. Are we seeing the, what you would call, the real United coming through and what sort of encouragement does that give you going into next year? “Well, we’re improving and I think we can see more and more of what we want to be and our identity and what we’re good at. We’re making games suit our style more and more and we’ve played the same way for a little while and we’re getting used to each other. We’re quite a bit away still from where we want to be. I think we’re the youngest team this week as well in the Premier League. We were last week only 23 years of age from the starting 10 outfield players. I don’t know about today, but we’re still young and we’ll have ups and downs, but there’ll be less and less and less hopefully of the downs.” There was a concern that you didn’t replace Romelu Lukaku, which you voiced yourself earlier in the season, but has the form of Martial and Rashford, which is getting more and more consistent, eased that concern? “Yeah, we always believed that Anthony and Marcus were going to score goals. But Mason has filled a big void. He has chipped in with goals, so I’m not worried about goals from the centre forwards or forwards. Mason is eight now, Marcus 14 or 15, Anthony has quite a few, but Romelu is a good striker and he will always score goals, but it was time for him to move on and we didn’t find the right one outside of our club - we had Mason.” You said that it is difficult to get players in in January. Do you think it could be a case of if you get someone in and they make an impact, that could be the difference between you getting into the top four or not? “Well, if we can keep these lot fit and if we can keep on improving, one addition, if you get two additions, of course that’s going to be competition for places, and that’s what you’ve got to deal with at this club. We haven’t had enough [competition] because we’ve had so many injuries, but now we’re getting more and more players fit. So now I’ve got to leave players out that I maybe should have played. So today Luke and Aaron were replaced by two fantastic performers with Ash and Brandon, so it gives me more options.” Do you think Paul will travel to the Arsenal game? “Yeah, I would think so.” The last decade, we’re coming to the end of that now, it has been a chastening one. What message would you have for the United fans for the next 10 years, if you’re still there? “Well, 2020 sounds quite good for me though, so I’m going to make 2020 a good year for myself. I think we’re on the right track, we are in a transition period, we’ve seen other clubs do it and come out strong after a couple of years and we will come strong this decade definitely. That’s just in the nature of this club.” Breaking down teams was something you wanted to see improved. Now you’ve won back to back games where you have broken down teams. Is that even more pleasing than earlier this month when you beat Tottenham and Man City back to back? “It’s hard to compare, but we have to learn that way of playing football. We’re not a Manchester City. We can’t play and outplay and out-football teams like they do yet, but hopefully in a few years we can. It’s not going to be overnight. It’s only them that can do that, but we are more with fast, flowing, quicker, attacking, but if you can mix that with like we had tonight we’ve got a chance.” You sound confident about bringing someone in January… “Do I? I’m always optimistic. I’m a striker by nature and I’ve always been an optimist. I’m optimistic that we can keep players fit and if the right ones become available, yeah, we do have the resources and I do have the backing from the board, but it’s also about getting the right ones. It has to be. There’s no point suddenly thinking bringing someone else in now just for the sake of three or four months. If that can disrupt any, not good feeling in the group, but chemistry in the group, because the chemistry in the group is really good. It has to be the right type, it has to be a good investment for the club for the long term as well."