United v West Brom: Ole's press conference part 2
The boss answers questions on McTominay, Cavani, Lindelof, Pogba and Shaw, in the second half of his press conference...
Samuel Luckhurst: Scott McTominay had the disappointment of seemingly being at fault for Serbia’s goal but then he had the bottle and the metal to step up and take the penalty and Scotland have qualified for the Euro’s. How impressed have you been with his character since you took over as manager? Because he did have a slow start under you before becoming a very important player. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: He has a great character, great personality. He’s shown that through the years in the Academy and that is one of the reasons he is here now. He’s had to fight his way and he’s played in different positions; he’s learned the trade and got the grades and now he has become a very important player for us. The great thing is if I play him as a centre-forward, he’ll play centre forward. For Scotland he plays centre back, if I ask him to play attacking midfield, he would. What you see if what you get, he gives everything for himself, his family and of course the Club and his country. A top professional that you just want the best for and he’s really improved his quality of football as well. David McDonnell: You’ve got the youngest squad in the Premier League, I think. I just wanted to ask you what role Edison Cavani can play in terms of guiding younger players like Mason, like Brandon, in terms of his experience and professionalism, I just wondered how much that can rub of on them in terms of their development? Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: Edinson of course has experienced everything in football. The challenge for Edinson with the likes of Brandon and Mason is of course the language barrier. Edinson doesn’t speak a lot of English yet, he’s learning but they can see by his desire and commitment every day in training. In the squad you need a mix, you need a balance between experience and youth. Our young players have got some great role models in Juan, Nemanja, David, Edinson. The over-thirties, we don’t have many of them but they’re very important. I like youth, I like enthusiasm, passion but you need that experience as well and that’s why we bought Edinson in. Chris Wheeler: Just back on this issue of Alzheimer’s and Dementia in football. Are you surprised it has taken this long to have the conversation and do you back the campaigns now to try and do more about it? Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: Of course, it is a serious issue. A serious illness and we in the football society we want to help as much as we can, raise awareness, do research for generations to come on how football doesn’t accelerate the illness. We’ve seen heading has been discussed, we’ve seen different authorities have stopped heading in training under the age of twelve or something, I think that is a good way of doing it. Hopefully the balls can be better as well, they are better now than they were twenty, thirty, forty years ago. Laurie Whitwell: Can I just get your reflections on Luke Shaw’s injury? it seemed like he was in a good mode before picking up that hamstring strain and then how you view the left-back position with Brandon, with Alex? Presumably Alex is okay with the coronavirus test that came back negative, he is fine to play if desired? Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: Luke was in very good form, he was, as all of us, getting momentum and getting better and better. I think we can see progression in his football, he trusts himself more, I think we’ve got more crosses and attacks from Luke lately. Unfortunately, then he gets this injury which will keep him out for a few weeks. Alex, he has had a troubled time since he came, he’s already been on two international breaks, had Covid after he played really well for the seventy minutes he played against PSG. He’s not really played for Brazil, five, ten minutes, he got one minute this international which of course is not great. Brandon has been here and trained really well, I’m starting to see the Brandon I saw last season which I have to see more. If he keeps doing what he did last season, he’ll be fine and he’s done really well. We’ve got options at full-back so I’m not worried about that. Rob Dawson: Can I just ask about Victor, you’ve mentioned his back a few times already this season. His international manager mentioned it again in the week. Is that something that is going to need him to have an extended period of rest or an operation to get over? Because it seems to have been a niggling injury for a while now. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: He’s had it last season as well, I think it’s more to do with when the games come thick and fast. I think when he gets a few days extra recovery he should be alright. He felt really well and comfortable in the first game for Sweden, after the rest in the friendly game then he started feeling it again against France and the games are coming thick and fast. It is an issue that we have to manage but hopefully we don’t have to do any surgery or anything serious. Neil Custis: When it comes to Paul and an international manager is making those comments, is that a bit unhelpful for a club manager? Because the question will then always come back to you. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: We always get questions, the managers we try to answer as well as we can. I think the press sometimes make more of it and people maybe at home maybe not having the whole interview maybe make more of it as well. We’re all experienced enough to try to avoid big massive headlines. I spoke to Paul today about it, of course he is not happy when he is not playing and not playing really well. He has not been happy with his performances. He plays in the same position for France as he has done for us so it is not a different scenario, it is about getting momentum and rhythm. As I said earlier in the conference now that he felt really strong towards the end against Portugal, until the end of the game against Sweden which is natural because he has had covid and he needed time. That is the same for all of our players, they look stronger and fitter and he is the same. Everyone, I remember myself when I came to Norway, played for Norway and saw my mates that I’d grown up with and played in the Club with. Of course, it is nice to meet them, social life now is not the same, so you are happy to see your friends again. Neil Custis: You just talked about his position there, have you found the best position for him do you think, to get the best out of him and what is it? Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: Well there is always discussions about players who can play in different positions because they have got the quality to do so many things and they can play different positions. The same goes with Scott, what is his best position? Scotland plays him as a centre-back, I play him as more of a one of two defensive midfielders. Bruno can play in loads of positions; Marcus, is it on the left or through the middle? The same with Anthony. Paul is the same, he can do the role and he has the quality to do many things and it is the balance of the team and the eleven you pick that day which is the key. Sometimes it is as a high eight, sometimes as a ten, sometimes in off the left in a diamond, sometimes as one of the two. He can do everything and now the fitter he gets, the more he can do.