Solskjaer's press conference - 1.3.19
01/03/19 Reverse order Timestamp format
Injuries wise, is there anything positive?
OGS: It's the last session today but we're not going to take any risks. So I don't know. Maybe Anthony, but it might be a few more days before he's ready. Probably the squad will look similar to Wednesday.
Are you looking at it game by game, with three games in a week?
OGS: You do have a plan, but then you get injuries and suspensions. One injury or suspension might change the whole dynamic of the team. It's a matter of seeing who's available. Selhurst Park on a Wednesday is a tough one and then it's only Friday morning, so they've not had too much recovery time. We'll make our minds up tonight on what the team will be.
There's been a lot of focus on David de Gea and his contract. Anything you can tell us?
OGS: No updates from me. The club and David are in dialogue so hopefully they'll agree. It's out of my hands. But I'm sure we'll do what we can.
When you have a goalkeeper like David, how important is it to keep him and get some long-term stability, because he's one of the best the club's ever had?
OGS: David's done fantastic since he came. The club really showed how much they wanted him back in the day when Eric (Steele)and the gaffer found him. There was probably keepers there that were better at that time, but the belief that the manager showed in him, with the criticism that he got early, just pays dividends now with the performances. He's been player of the year for I don't know how many years, the last four or five years, so we're grateful to have him. Then again, we've got Sergio and Lee, so it's a fantastic goalkeeper department that we have, so I don't think there's any manager in the world that will beat me in that respect.
You played with Schmeichel and were here at the start of Van der Sar's time here. How would you rate De Gea compared to those two?
OGS: It's difficult to compare them, but Edwin and Peter were never Player of the Year. David's meant so many points for us over the years and I would say he's the best goalkeeper in the world. But Peter was at the time and Edwin at the time as well. I'm delighted with David and his personality is fantastic. He's such a humble but confident boy.
Is Marcus Rashford fully fit now?
OGS: Yeh. He said he still felt it Wednesday night but he'll be ready, so I'll probably start him.
Have you had a chance to have a look at Southampton and decide what sort of approach they'll take?
OGS: We've had a good look at them. You’ve got to be two or three games ahead all the time. It was a big win against Fulham, he did great when he came in they had a tougher spell in February but when you win a game like this you’re confident. We need to get back to winning ways at home and we need to look at our own approach. I can't decide what Southampton are going to do because they might change but we’ve got to focus on what we need to improve on.
It's nearly five years since Luke Shaw joined from Southampton. He's had his ups and downs but he's come in to a run of form at the moment. What have you done differently? Is it just a run of games, is it that simple?
OGS: I don't know what I've done differently but yeh he's played, he’s got another couple of years in him and when he decides to drive forward and goes into fifth gear there’s no one runner quicker that him. He's so sharp. Confidence grows when you play and when you play well. I’ve been delighted with his performances.
I understand tha Antonio Valencia's contract needs to be triggered today if it's going to be extended by an extra year. What's the situation with him?
OGS: He's still not 100% fit. He's working to get back fit. He’s had a fantastic career here at Man United and England, and is one of the Premier League winners left in the dressing room but I’m not sure if Manchester United and Antonio will agree on the next year, so it depends if he gets back on the pitch in the next few months. But he’s the captain, great servant to the club so hopefully I can get him on the pitch and so he can show what he can do.
It was a big night for Lukaku getting the goals, but he needs to do that at Old Trafford. What's it been like for him over the last couple of days and how confident are you that he can push on now?
OGS: We need to get back to winning ways at home, we've done fantastic away, but at home we’ve not scored in the last two actually, against PSG and Liverpool. Romelu, I’m sure the two goals will give him a lot of confidence. I'm sure he’ll hopefully he’ll get his goal. I know he's scored the majority of his goals away this year. But Rom, Alexis, Marcus, whoever plays up there will get the chances and score goals.
With PSG on the horizon, with everything that happened at Old Trafford, the two goal deficit. What's your thinking this weekend with PSG coming up, in terms of selection?
OGS: Wednesday doesn't come in mind, whatsoever. Saturday, 3 o’clock, Wednesday night in Paris, we’ve got so much time to get our recovery in. It’s more about Wednesday night at Selhurst Park then Saturday afternoon and see if everybody is available again. So I'm 100% focused on this one, and three points in the league.
End of the first part of the press conference.
Start of the second half of the press conference.
You're one point behind Arsenal, five behind Spurs. How important is it to you to finish third? Of course, top four finish is the priority in terms of getting a Champions League place, but is it more important to you to finish as high as you can?
OGS: It's important to look upwards. Of course, the results have meant we can challenge Tottenham now for that spot. It's us, Chelsea, Arsenal. We're all chasing them. It's going to be an exciting race and every single game is going to be very important. You need to make sure to tip the balance in your way.
The club don't want to comment until the end of the season but you say you've planned for the short term and the long term. Have you suggested to Ed which players need to stay and go because we're coming to that point where decisions are being made on players?
OGS: Yes, I have. We've been discussing the future of the club. We did that before I'd won two or three games, or if I should stay or not. My contract is up in the summer, but, as I've always done for United, I've given 100% and given my best because you have to plan, even if I'm not here. I've given my view on who I'd like to see as a supporter.
But you'd like to be here?
OGS: I think everyone knows you'd like to stay, of course, but that's not decided until the end of the season.
It's getting to the time where the club are going to ask supporters to renew season tickets. Do you think they deserve some clarity on who the manager is going to be next season?
OGS: I've done a video shoot on season tickets, so I'm pleading for them to get their season tickets. If it's me as a manager, or a supporter, I don't know. But they should still buy their season tickets because the club is going somewhere.
The last time United were in the Europa League, they finished sixth. They struggled with the Thursday fixtures. How problematic would it be if United were in that situation again?
OGS: You don't want to plan for the Europa League. We're hoping and planning that we'll do what we can and what we should to get in to the Champions League for next season. We'll take that if it comes.
Sir Alex Ferguson used to call the last 10 games of the season...
OGS: Squeaky bum time.
We're in it now. Can you enjoy it?
OGS: Yes, definitely. I'm not a nervous guy. I need to relax and enjoy it. I think my players can see that I enjoy it. They've got to realise that this is the best time of their lives playing here. These are the times that Man United players step up, when the going gets tough. You sign up for challenges and to rise to those challenges when you're at Man United. We've got Arsenal away coming up, PSG away, the big games. These are the games or periods of time that might make them stay in the history of the club.
Do proper footballers enjoy these challenges? Is that what defines them?
OGS: Yeh, I think so. You could go out and perform on a stage when it matters, even if you maybe don't feel like it, that's the demands of a Man United player. You just don't perform when you feel like it. You're 1-0 down, you need to get on the ball, or you're 1-0 up and need to control the game. You realise when you finish as a footballer that every game is a chance to further your career and to show what you're about.
Is it strange to be asked to do promotional work for next season when you don't know if you'll be here?
OGS: It'll be stranger to see yourself in a video if you're not here, but no, it's not strange doing it. I think my kids, if they see a commercial with me or with me in it if I'm back in Norway, that'll be strange probably.
Have you been asked to do anything else or is that it?
OGS: That's just part of being here. As a player as well, you're not here anymore and you see your picture. That's how it is.
Of course, United signed Pogba when they were in the Europa League. But how important is it to be in the Champions League to attract the big players and the top names, because that's the competition they want to be playing in, isn't it?
PGS: Yeh, of course. All the players want to play in the Champions League. To play in the Champions League for Man United is an even bigger thing for many and we know we cannot just live off our name, tradition and history. We want to attract good players, who want to improve the players we have here. You know, Paul, David, Marcus, Anthony, all these top players that we have. They need players to challenge them. Nobody should feel 100% secure to be in the starting XI.
The way results have gone recently, is third place a possibility? Is that a target you've got in mind?
OGS: As I said before, we're five points behind Tottenham and there's 10 games to go. We've definitely got a chance to move up the table. So we'll do our best to get there.
How big a statement would that be for your hopes to stay here beyond this season if you could finish third?
OGS: Every game is a big chance for the players to say 'we want to stay' and it's the same for everyone around the coaching staff. We just want to improve everyone because that's our job. The better we do, the bigger chance there is for us to stay here.