Ole Gunnar Solskjaer pre-season Q&A: Manchester United manager on Paul Pogba, Alexis Sanchez and how much ground they have to make up to catch rivals Manchester City and Liverpool

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sat down with the press during pre-season Australia tour

17 July 2019 - 08:48

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took time out from Manchester United's pre-season tour to speak to Sportsmail and the travelling media in Perth. 

In a wide-ranging interview, the United manager discusses Paul Pogba, Alexis Sanchez and the problem of 'spoon feeding' modern-day footballers.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took time out from Manchester United’s tour to speak to Sportsmail

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took time out from Manchester United's tour to speak to Sportsmail

Q: How does this United tour compare to pre-season at Molde?

A: Of course, it's different. When you're at Manchester United, everything is different, but I'm used to this from before. But, of course, it has moved on since I left as well. Everything, the fans, and football in general, it's bigger, there's more media interest, so it's nice.

Q: Do you sense the camp is revived now after the disappointing end to last season?

A: It was disappointing, the last few months, obviously. But they've come back and it's been really encouraging. You didn't expect anything else though. You expected them to come back with a little bit of grit, but it's only two weeks into the pre-season and it's been very encouraging.

Q: Has it been as encouraging as you had hoped?

A: Yeah. Sometimes you expect players to be more negative and maybe we've been too kind to them, because they've not moaned enough. Maybe the pre-season hasn't been hard enough. I can still remember when I wasn't able to walk down the stairs. You had to walk backwards and all this, but I don't think we've had them there yet.

The Norwegian is preparing to take charge of his first full season at the Premier League club

The Norwegian is preparing to take charge of his first full season at the Premier League club

Q: You've been clear about playing front-foot, attacking football. Do you feel that going into the season you will have a squad of players more physically able to meet your expectations?

A: I would think so and that's obviously the aim now, to put the fitness in to everyone and get everyone fit for August 11. But it's after the first international break, that's when the games come thick and fast.

You can almost call it pre-season, the first month of the season, because with the first four or five games there are no midweek games, so there's still time to build a foundation.

We needed it because the stats have shown we haven't been up there, but there's been a big improvement. Like Scott (McTominay) said, they haven't had sessions like this the last few pre-seasons.

Q: Can we expect a transformation in the way United look on the pitch?

A: You've got opposition that wants to play as well. But we have a clear aim and we want to look a certain way. We know it's going to take time. It might not be a transformation like (clicks fingers) 'wow, that's a new team'. 

But I think most of us saw the intention on Saturday (against Perth Glory). We want to play on the front foot, but you can't do that for 90 minutes in 38 league games, that's hard in the Premier League.

Solskjaer is currently with his side Down Under as they prepare for the new domestic season

Solskjaer is currently with his side Down Under as they prepare for the new domestic season

Q: Towards the end of last season there was a disconnect between the players and fans. Have you got a job on your hands to win back the trust?

A: I think it was a mentally draining season, and physically. But mentally because there were ups and downs, and especially when you change manager right in the middle it's also difficult.

We got a boost with the first few games, won a few, then got a few injuries and towards the end it was flat. It was flat towards the end and there are many reasons for that. We've just got to make sure we get more consistency.

Q: Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho, two of the biggest coaching names in football, didn't make a great success of the job. What makes you can think you can succeed?

A: It depends on what you think is success. They won trophies. I've admired Jose, Louis and David (Moyes). I admired them because I was still a player when they were successful managers. We're all different. I think they were more on the pitch, really on the pitch. That type of coach. I've got some great coaches that will do most of the coaching work. We're all different and we've all got different management styles.

The 46-year-old took over at Old Trafford following the departure of Jose Mourinho last year

The 46-year-old took over at Old Trafford following the departure of Jose Mourinho last year

Q: Only two players in and two out so far. Did you expect more change by this stage of pre-season?

A: I know it's hard getting players in and over the line. We've been doing our jobs. We've been finding and identifying players, scouting them. But they have got clubs.

It took time with Aaron (Wan-Bissaka) and it took time with Dan (James) but they got it over the line. It's not like we're going to sign 10 players. It can't be a quick fix.

As I've said to you, we're working on one or two and we're still hoping, but I also understand that the market has changed. Prices have soared.

Q: Is there a Man Utd tax? You always seem to end up paying more for players because the resources the club has.

A: We have been linked with so many players. I am sure you don't believe every single player that we have been linked with. Sometimes, because of the wealth, maybe we have had to pay more, a bigger premium to get players in. That's just the world we live in. We have taken our time and we are not going to over pay, but we have to get the right people in, the right players.

Daniel James, who signed from Swansea, is one of two new players to join so far this summer

Daniel James, who signed from Swansea, is one of two new players to join so far this summer

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