Solskjaer weighs into penalty debate
Watch the second half of Ole’s pre-City press conference, including his response to Jurgen Klopp’s comments…
James Ducker: Out of the blue and unprompted last night, Jurgen Klopp said he was unhappy that his team weren’t awarded a couple of penalties against Southampton and started referencing the number of penalties you’d won. He said you’ve had more in two years than he’s had in five-and-a-half years as Liverpool manager. He is not the first to be harping on about this. I’m just wondering what your view of it is and this apparent obsession from other managers with the penalties you’ve won? OGS: And that’s a fact? Probably! That’s probably going to be my answer, that’s a fact that we’ve got more than him. I don’t count how many penalties they’ve had so if they want to spend time worrying about when we get fouled in the box then I don’t spend time on that. David McDonnell: Obviously that from Jurgen and Jose Mourinho has complained about the penalties. Is that a sign of pressure getting to those managers as well? Is that what you feel the reason behind those outbursts is? Secondly, can I just ask what you and the players have learnt from those three semi-final defeats mentally in terms of your preparation going into tomorrow? OGS: I can’t talk on behalf of other managers why they say things like this. Obviously, I felt it worked last year in the semi in the FA cup because Frank spoke about it and we had a nailed-on penalty that we should have had that we didn’t get. Maybe it is a way of influencing the referees, but I don’t worry about that. When they foul our players, it is a penalty just when it is inside the box. On last year’s three semi-finals, Anthony came on and he should had a penalty. There are fine margins when you get to a semi. Even against Sevilla we had one of our best games and we were very very close to getting through against a very difficult side. We’ve learnt hopefully but it is not about learning, sometimes it is fine margins and sometimes it is quality and we are a better team now than six months back or twelve months back so hopefully we’ve got the quality when it matters when we’ve got a chance or when we’ve got a one against one, or when defenders make a block or that we defend well. Semis, you earn the right to win a trophy by going through, you play against more and more difficult opponents every game. Naturally a semi is harder than a quarter final. The quarter final a few weeks back was fantastic for us, we showed the quality and strength in depth and hopefully we can make it one step further this time. Samuel Luckhurst: Jesse Lingard has only started one game this season, there has been some interest in taking him on loan this month. Is he any closer to leaving this month and are there any other players who have not had as much playing time that are likely to go? OGS: This season is going to be about the squad, and rotation and having the right players playing at the right time. We’ve seen so many injuries, the schedule is so hectic. We’ve been quite good at rotating and that has stood us in a good stead. When you look at the City against Chelsea game, when City had eight days since the last game, you see the quality goes up straight away. Physically the game was more demanding than any of the previous games in the league probably. I see the difference when you have the full week, what they call in Germany not an English week, because the English week you play every three days and it is physically demanding. Say a Jesse, say players who haven’t played as much now they’ve got to be ready when they get the opportunity. You see Eric Bailly, he’s come in and he’s been brilliant. He’s waited, he’s had small niggles and injuries, but you have to train well and that is the work on the training pitch that the coaches are doing, and the players are putting in the work as well. When you get the chance, be ready to take it. Paul Hirst: You’ve spoken in the past about the League Cup win that Patrice Evra and Nemanja Vidic had in 06 and how that kind of helped give them the belief. Is that the kind of hope that for you and your team if you win one then it might kind of snowball into more trophies? OGS: Hopefully. We want to go one step further. I speak from my experience, when I won my first league at Man United it becomes a drug. Celebrating with your team mates on the pitch with the trophy, or we won it when Wimbledon took points off Liverpool in 97 but still we had a celebration, and it becomes a thing that you get addicted to winning. Of course, that win with Patrice and Nemanja I think that was huge for that team. I was just on my way out at that moment, we won the league the year after and I had to retire after that, but that team grew so much from those years. We’ve added some players in our group that hopefully can give us that extra edge in the semis compared to what we had last season. Laurie Whitwell: We last saw Donny van de Beek in the last round of this competition and we’ve not seen him since. I just wondered what your appreciation of his role in the squad is at the moment and how he’s done coming into United this season? OGS: Donny has played well when he’s got the chance. I think we are too quick sometimes to jump on that if he isn’t playing, that it is a failure. Victor and Fred are good examples in my team that it takes a little bit of time and now they are massively important players in our squad and in our team and it will be the same with Donny. He has come in and is in a midfield pool of players with quality, challenging with Bruno, Juan, Jesse, I’ve got loads of 10s and loads of centre-midfielders with Paul, Nemanja, Scott, Fred. There are many of them and Donny has played well when he’s got the chance and that is a big thing, that you are ready. He is always ready, he works hard in training, positive and he will make differences in many games for us this season, but he’ll grow more and more even for next year. Jamie Jackson: You said earlier that City were a bit cagey when you played them recently. Is this a sign of respect or do you think there is a fear factor there of what you can do to this City team? Because you know the pace you have with Rashford, Martial, the way in which you can sort of hit teams, there is a fear factor there which you would expect maybe. OGS: Did I say cagey? I don’t think I said cagey. I think they changed a little bit anyway Man City, they don’t concede as many goals, they don’t concede as many counter attacks, they do have more counter attacks themselves. You see the goal Sterling creates for De Bruyne against Chelsea; you can see them playing teams on the break more often than what they have done in the last few years. They hit us on the break at Old Trafford last season when they scored in the semi-final, that is a strength that they have. To get counter-attacks you have got to defend better. I think they have defended better and not just because of us, because of other teams as well, they have made a decision on maybe dropping more than what they used to do. But of course, you have respect for Man City. I think of course they have respect for our players with Rashford and Bruno and Paul and Greenwood, Martial. All managers have respect for the opposition, and we all try to find a way of beating the opponent and we are trying to find a way now that we can beat them tomorrow night.