United 1 Astana 0: Solskjaer's press conference
Journalists at the press conference fired plenty of questions to Ole about our match-winner from the Academy...
Mason is just great to watch isn’t he, when he’s in that position doing that sort of thing? Yeah, if you get him inside the box you know something is going to happen. He can go inside, he can go out, Great finish, through the legs of the keeper - most of the time that’s quite open. Is he the most-talented striker you’ve ever managed? If not, who is? It’s very natural for him to play football. It’s very natural for him to score goals, to be in and around the box. And I said yesterday, he knows how to hit a ball. He maybe hit it too hard in the first half where he should have curled it a little bit more in the top corner, but he showed glimpses today of what he can become. As a manager do you have to be brave to place trust in a 17-year-old? You let Lukaku and Sanchez go and at the time it seemed like a brave decision… For me I thought it was the right decision, because I think for him and for the club, he’s going to be important this season. Yeah, he hasn’t played a lot so far, but he’ll get his minutes and he’ll grow and develop. He turns 18 in just over a weeks’ time. Will you offer him a new contract and get that sorted? We’re always in talks with the boys about how we see their futures and Mason is, obviously, one that we want to keep with us. Fred did very well tonight, how much of a confidence boost will that be for him tonight? He’s improving. He’s getting better and fitter. It’s great to see him as he is: confident on the ball. He’s a tenacious little midfielder and he’s good off the ball, so he’ll come good for us. Were you at any time concerned today? When you don’t score in the first half from four or five massive chances you’re always wondering if it’s going to be one of those night where you going to get punished for being sloppy. Then again, their keeper did well. He made some fantastic saves I didn’t feel confident that we were going to win the game until the referee blew his whistle. I don’t think we played the last 10 minutes that well after we scored. That’s something the boys need to learn as well. It looked like you changed the positions of Greenwood and Rashford. Did that contribute to the goal in any way? I thought we created more chances and we were more precise in the first half, we just didn’t take them. In the second half we played the percentages more - get more players in and around the box and hope we create enough chances to win. Is it going to be quite a difficult balancing act this season in the Europa League, giving the young players chances but in the programme notes you’ve said it’s a competition you want to win? The main thing now is to get through the group stages. To do that you need to win your home games and get one or two draws, or a win away from home and you should be through. There’ll still be plenty of minutes for the boys, definitely. We still had an experienced side out here with loads of capped internationals. How much will it help their development playing in these games? I didn’t make it easy for them by making so many changes. We’ve had a couple of games behind closed doors but that’s different. Now in front of the fans and supporters it’s a little bit added - you play for points. I didn’t give them an easy ride. But I think they’re all just going to grow and become better for it. How was Mason in the dressing room after the game and what did you say to him? I think he’ll be the same. He’s the same. He doesn’t change his demeanour, if he scores or if he misses. He’s a delightful young boy to work with. Both Harry and Victor have played a lot. What was behind the decision to leave Victor out of the squad? We only need one defender on the bench, so today was Harry’s turn. Marcos [Rojo] can play centre-back so we just rested – or we didn’t rest him, he had to work. Harry got a rest, because he was on the bench, while Victor and Aaron and the rest who weren’t in the squad had a hard day. If Axel keeps playing like that, he’s going to put a lot of pressure on Victor and Harry. I know they’re you’re preferred partnership but... Axel was very assured out there and you could see he was in cruise control as well. I’m delighted for him. It’s a few years since he played for us now here at Old Trafford and he played really well. He just confirms what we already thought we knew. Ole how do you handle Mason? He can’t play every week, so how much football do you give him to develop? Well he’s learning every day. He’s training now with better players than he’s ever done and the more match time he gets, the better he’ll become, the more used to the tempo. So I thought today was a good introduction for him.