Manchester United are in action against Watford on Saturday. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer spoke with the press ahead of the game on Saturday.
It was the same press conference that has been had. No hard questions, nothing about tactics, same questions about him almost losing his job and Jesse Lingard.
The Lingard situation is understandable, it is being reported that Lingard is going to leave on a free after contract talks have stalled. Lingard wants to play to make the England World Cup squad. United should have sold him in the summer.
“Jesse is training really hard, really well and he’s ready and available for me, definitely. He’s disappointed he’s not played more, of course. In regard to the contract situation and talks, I’ve not been in them very, very closely. For me, Jesse is still a big part of this club, an important part. He gives energy to the group every day,” said Solskjaer.
Solskjaer and Pogba
Paul Pogba was injured on the first day of training for France and could be out for awhile. Is it a bad thing?
“Of course, there’s a couple of doubts with illnesses and small niggles. Paul is out still for a while, Rapha is out for a while still. Apart from that, players will be coming back in, [let’s] call it, the near future. Some this weekend and some during the week. But that’s the same for every team that misses players,” said Solskjaer.
Maybe not. Solskjaer has deployed Pogba on the left at times and Pogba disappears, Solskjaer plays Pogba in the double pivot and sometimes he disappears.
Most people would say Pogba’s best position is the number 8 role, the box to box midfielder who can sit back deep and pick a pass, but have someone next to him to provide cover. The problem with United is no one is capable of playing that defensive midfield role week after week.
It is not likely that Solskjaer changes his tactics to a 4-3-3 instead of a 4-2-3-1 or a 3-back system that he has used as back up.
We could see Nemanja Matic and Donny van de Beek paired together in Pogba’s absence. DVB is a classical Dutch number 8 and was phenomenal in that role with Ajax.
The Pogba injury allows Solskjaer not to pick him without scrutiny. Pogba is one of the best midfielders in the world, but could be gone after this summer with his contract coming to an end. Watford could be a glimpse of United without Pogba.
Ole Still Positive
If Ole is negative in these press conferences, he will take a beating in the media. Ole plays it tight, keeps his cards to his chest and always says the right thing. The politically correct thing.
“We’ve been through periods like this before. Our away form should give us confidence, what we’ve done. We’ve just gone 30 games away and lost one or whatever we have. Last season, we turned it around as well on a run with 20 games and one defeat. That’s the kind of run we have to get back to. As I said, this week we’ve worked on a few things, we’ve prioritized a few things that we have to improve on.”
“We know the run of form hasn’t been good and that performances haven’t been good enough. We know we can do better, we know we should do better and we think we will do better. It’s down to performances on the day. [Players are] human beings, sometimes you hit the post and it goes out and sometimes it goes in. That can change the mood, the atmosphere. We just got to focus on getting a good start tomorrow and build on a good start.”