Brighton 0 United 3: Ole's press conference
Journalists asked the boss about Eric Bailly, Dean Henderson and a rumour surrounding Juan Mata...
Q: Job well done? “Yeah, we’re through so that’s the job in the cup and I think we deserved it in the end. First 20, 25 minutes –maybe half an hour – it was a game that didn’t really look like getting any goals. But some quality moments from some of our players gave us the goals we needed. We had to defend well throughout the game in our shape, so very pleased.” Q: Three goals in three consecutive games, building confidence? “Definitely, of course. After a difficult start, or a poor start, disappointing start – what you want to call it – against Palace, we’ve picked it up, had some good performances. The confidence comes, the sharpness comes, the fitness comes. We knew we had to hurry, hurry quickly and, not a classic performance but scoring goals is always nice but a foundation is of course a clean sheet.” Q: Three semis last year, does that spur you on? “Definitely, we’re already now in the quarter-final and of course depending on the situation in December we’re going to want to go through to the semis again. So job well done, well done to everyone getting match fit and the semi-final defeats – of course they hurt.” Q: Eric’s performance? “I think Eric played well again and he know how highly we value him and for him now it’s about getting consistency, performances, staying on the pitch, staying injury free which he has now for a while and very pleased for him.” Q; Henderson save? “Big moment in the game, as it was last time against Luton. Good save, kept his concentration. He didn’t have a lot to do. So very pleased with it. He lives for clean sheets, which a keeper should do.” Q: Mata? “Definitely, his composure and experience. For a young team, we know we are a young team and we know we have different qualities in different players, but Juan I think he created the moments, more or less every moment in this game that was at the highest quality in the attacking sense and defensive. The one time he tracked Dan Burn and he saw off a cross to the back post against a six foot seven centre back, I think that shows bow conscientious he is as well. So he’s a very, very valuable member of the squad. Top professional, it’s never easy to tell him when he’s not playing.” Q: Does his attitude spread to the group? “He has had a fantastic career, he’s won whatever there is to win more or less and he is someone, an example for everyone to look at. How you conduct yourself and how you perform when you get the chance.” Q: What was the improvement tonight on Saturday? “Of course you play a better team on Saturday than what we did tonight. Of course we can’t hide that fact that both teams made some changes, but the way our players grew into the game, got more confidence – keeping a clean sheet is vital for them. I think the fitness and sharpness is the main thing along with the result to go through to the quarters of course.” Q: Donny, how close to starting in the Prem? “We know how many games we’re going to play this season and he’s going to be vital for us. I think he’s proved in every game he’s been a part of Donny that he’s got high quality and he’s such a clever mover. He plays the game very simple, but effectively and with high qualities, so of course he’s knocking on the door.” Q: Moved to left wing, does he have the intelligence to play across the front three positions? “Of course, he’s got very, very high footballing intelligence and tactically he’s gone through the Ajax system and the Dutch football it’s tactical and he knows football and all the conversations I’ve had with him, you can see he’s got his head screwed on. He’s different type of left-sided player compared to Dan James and Marcus Rashford of course. But coming inside there, finding good pockets, making good runs – yeah why not. I think he can play loads of different positions. Which sometimes is strength for a player. I remember myself sometimes right-wing, left-wing, centre forward, 10 and Donny I think is one of those that the coach would always love to have in their squad.” Q; Mata leaving rumours, do you want him to stay? “Well I’ve not read those reports. Yes, of course Juan has not had any discussions, or discussed anything other than how he’s going to play more? How is he going to get into the team? How valuable he is for the squad – an unbelievable top professional, so we’ve not discussed that one at all. You can see tonight the high quality he brings, but also the composure in the play. He does the simple things really well and he also quality to do the difficult things.”