Solskjaer: Colchester is a big game for us
Ole discusses the Carabao Cup's importance, injuries and scouting the opposition in his pre-match press conference...
Ole, how important would reaching a cup final be? Any player or any team, and for us it’s a new team now that are building, would benefit from winning a trophy or getting to a final. Of course, winning it is major. Now we’ve got a chance to get into the semis, so, for us, this game is a big one. So, you’re not going to make wholesale changes to your team now? We’ve got a squad and we’ve got to rotate. We did that on Thursday and we’re going to make chances again because there are so many games, but I hope, and I think, that the team we’re going to put out is strong enough to win the game. At home, against a League Two team, you’re big favourites and you’ve got to expect that, but we’ve got to go out there and earn it. It’s going to be strong enough to create chances and, hopefully, score goals. Are any players likely to be back from injury for that one? Maybe Diogo after he’s had a week of training, but probably no one else. How close is Pogba? Because he seems to have been coming back for a while but still hasn’t played… Of all things he’s now struck down with illness and he’s been off for two or three days. That’s not beneficial and that’s probably set him back quite a bit. You’ve built a team without him in recent weeks and the game against City showed what you can do without him. Are you building with him in mind? As I’ve said so many times, Paul is a top player that we want to see playing his best football at Man United. We just need to get him fit - match fit, he might be half an hour, 45, 60, 90 - who knows in the first game. We’re working hard to get him back, but now he’s ill. Ole, you spoke before about how wins can accelerate the development of a team. What could winning the EFL Trophy do for your side? It’s massive for a player to win his first trophy, no matter which one it is. I remember when Patrice and Nemanja won their first trophy - I think it was against Wigan in the final. Of course, they got that feeling and when you get that feeling of winning, it’s something you want more and more of. This group - we have a few players who have won the championship, but there are less and less of them. So, for us, it would be fantastic. Do you sense excitement from those players? It should be. The prize now is to get to the semi-final and then you’re not too far away. So, the motivation and the attitude will be right on Wednesday. Ole, on Mason, you look at his composure in front of goal, perhaps the most composed in the squad. Is he at a point now where you’re considering giving him a run of games in the front line? Yeah, because he’s making it hard for me to leave him out. I remember when I came to the club and I kept scoring a few goals and still I felt I could have performed better and I wasn’t involved in the game. But the manager’s comments were ‘it’s hard to keep players who score, out of the team’. So, it’s very difficult to put a team out now without having Mason in my mind. Ole, in the past the League Cup has been a cup that hasn’t been taken seriously- That’s why I’ve never won it then! Managers like Mourinho, Benitez, Guardiola - they saw the importance of it and wanted to get that to kickstart them. Do you look at it the same with your managerial career here? I think so, definitely. I think we showed that by the team we put out against Chelsea that we take it seriously. Even though we were in a difficult spell in the league, it was still important for us to create that momentum and the belief in the players. So, we’re hoping to get to the final. How different do you think this season would have looked if you’d have had Paul in that midfield? We can talk about Paul all day long. In games like this, for example, when you’re lacking that creative passing ideas - and he has that quality, that not many midfielders in the world have. So, to get him back would be great. Colchester have beaten both Spurs and Palace on penalties after a goalless draw - does that give you an indication of what type of game you’re going to face on Wednesday? I watched the Tottenham game and I started watching the Palace one yesterday. They are a well-organised, disciplined team that are going to make it hard for us. Like we played against today: well-organised. But we’re favourites and we should be able to create chances and hopefully go through.