Ole Gunnar Solskjaer spoke to the press on Tuesday afternoon as he looked ahead to Manchester United’s upcoming Champions League match against Villarreal.
United fell to a shock defeat away against BSC Young Boys in their opening group fixture and know a much better performance is needed against the side they lost the Europa League final against.
Solskjaer was also joined by French defender Raphael Varane for the press conference as the new signing gave an alternative perspective on the upcoming task in hand.
The United manager confirmed the early team news for the match on Wednesday evening with club captain Harry Maguire ruled out for a few weeks after injury against Aston Villa at the weekend. Defensive teammate Luke Shaw is also a doubt for the match but will undergo a late fitness test before a decision is made on his inclusion.
Scroll down to see how things unfolded.
Why McTominay and Fred start for United so oftenOle Gunnar Solskjaer says he trusts Scott McTominay and Fred as Manchester United’s midfield duo.
United have an auspicious win percentage of 58% with McTominay and Fred in the line-up, losing just 10 out of 55 matches, and they were the midfield duo in United’s unforgettable comeback against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League round-of-16 in 2019.
However, the regularity of their selections irks some United supporters and McTominay and Fred have started in three of United’s six Premier League fixtures this season, with McTominay unavailable to start for the other three due to a groin problem.
You can read more here.
Solskjaer responds to Gary Neville’s trophy commentsOle Gunnar Solskjaer accepts Manchester United have to win a trophy soon after the investment in his squad in recent seasons.
You can read his full quotes here.
Raphael Varane quotes coming laterWe’ll have to keep you waiting on those Raphael Varane quotes.
He has conducted his press conference in Spanish and then recorded an MUTV interview in French.
We will bring you them as soon as they are translated so keep across MEN Sport later this afternoon.
United give team news vs VillarrealLuke Shaw has an outside chance of making the Manchester United squad for their Champions League group game against Villarreal but Harry Maguire could be out for ‘a few weeks’.
Shaw was forced off in the first-half of United’s Premier League defeat to Aston Villa on Saturday with an unspecified problem and Maguire came off in the second-half with a calf problem.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka is suspended for the match and Diogo Dalot is expected to replace him, while Victor Lindelof is in line to start in Maguire’s absence.
You can read it all here.
Raphael Varane up nextThat is all from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
We will bring you Raphael Varane’s quotes next.
Gary Neville says trophy is essential”He has always got loads to say!
“The pressure is a privilege. To work in this environment you have to embrace it. I have got to say I have been backed and the progress has worked well.
“The backing I have got seems to me we are sticking to that plan. Expectations have improved with the better signings and performances. I am here to win, Gary knows that.
“We will get there, hopefully around April and May.”
Ronaldo the key to winning?”Of course Cristiano… you can almost say when he starts it is one guaranteed goal. He has that record and he will score goals.
“13 goals in 14 or 15 against Villarreal means he enjoys playing against them. He knows Albiol, Torres, top defenders. He is determined to score every time he is on the pitch.”
Recent sticky form”My focus is always to win the next game, short-term and think long-term about the squad building. My focus now has been on winning this game, getting back on track.
“Then we focus on the league again from Thursday morning. We would have loved to be top of the league, but we are still up there.
“With the squad and coach I have got we can improve and we will get that consistency.”
Gary Nevilles questioned style of play”I have not read that. Of course you are working on your style of play, your patterns. The Aston Villa game we broke up play really well, attacked maybe too fast. Gary knows that. Maybe we did it too fast.
“I don’t think I’ve seen any game with less efficient playing time. It was 44 minutes the ref gave us, but 45 minutes of effective playing time is one of the lowest I’ve ever seen, normal 55, 60.
“If you slow it down too much it might be a low-block again. We know Villarreal will defend well. We need to play quickly, but Gary knows what DNA is here at the club.”
Change of system with Maguire out?” You always look at the opposition and sometimes you need to make adjustments.
“We look at ourselves mostly. The more injuries you get you might need to do tactical changes.
“I have got Eric, Rapha, Victor. Alex and Diogo 100 per cent fit. Hopefully Luke can be involved.”
An important match”It is a group stage, there are only six games and you need 10 or maybe 12 points to go through.
“We lost three points last time. If you end up with zero or one point after two games you need to win the last four games probably. Not a must win game but an important one.”
What do you expect from Villarreal”You expect what you have learned in the last few seasons.
“We have played eachother five times, every time has been a draw. Very well organised, technically very good. They can play from the back. It is hard to press against them, which I thought we did well in the final.
“Difficult to create chances against and we have to be better to create chances. It was an even final.”
Why Solskjaer loves the McFred partnership”First of all the stats for them two together we have had many good results.
“The way we broke-up play against Villa I think they are very instrumental together. The energy and desire. I really like to have the two of them. I can trust them to give us what they’ve got.
“Fans will always have opinions, it is easy to say who should be playing.”
More on Maguire as changes expected”It is his calf, that might take a few weeks. Let’s see how quickly he recovers.
“He wanted to play against Villarreal, he missed the last game. We will have to make a few changes.”
United issue further Shaw and Maguire updatesIt is bad news for United.
Not long to goWe’ll be hearing from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Raphael Varane from roughly 1:30pm BST.
So less than five mintues to go.
United appear to have confirmed one starter vs VillarrealThe player who attends the pre-match press conference typically starts the following day.
Raphael Varane was always going to be in the XI especially with Harry Maguire likely to miss out.
Unai Emery gives verdict on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester UnitedVillarreal coach Unai Emery does not believe Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is under any immediate pressure at Manchester United.
United have lost three of their last four games, exiting the Carabao Cup with a home reverse to West Ham before Aston Villa won 1-0 at Old Trafford in the Premier League.
Solskjaer’s tactics have been heavily criticised this month and United’s second Champions League group stage match against Villarreal has become more significant after their opening defeat to Young Boys in Bern.
Emery inflicted a first final defeat on Solskjaer’s United in the Europa League final in May and the Spaniard has experienced the pitfalls of managing a major English club at Arsenal, where he lasted less than 18 months.
You can read his verdict here.
Unai Emery previews clashThe Villarreal manager has been speaking ahead of tomorrow’s match.
“I’m not afraid of Manchester United we respect them ok, respect is important. If you lose respect you may lose.
“Man Utd is the clear favourite. It was also the favourite in the final. We played a competitive match but they also had the options.
“They lost against Young Boys, it was the favourite very less favourite but there was a surprise. If you lose respect the other team may take advantage of that
“Tomorrow Manchester will be the best Manchester, they have to prove their power. What Solskjaer has done for as a player and a coach, we have to respect them., they are the favourites.
“Individually have very good players – attackers like Cavani, Martial and Cristiano Ronaldo. These are three attackers who could play in any team.
“We don’t fear them but we have a high respect for the opponent. What Solskjaer has done as a player and coach we have to respect that.”
Villarreal manager Unai Emery oversees training before the Europa League final (Image: PA)12:59Richard Fay
Main talking pointsA look at the main talking points ahead of today’s press conference.
United vs Villarreal previewEarly team newsMore on Maguire and ShawSolskjaer pressure after 3 defeats in 4Revenge for the UEL Final defeat?What tactical changes can United makeHow Varane has found the club so farChampions League ambitionsWho is on penalties
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been backed over that Bruno Fernandes penalty decision. (Image: Paul Ellis/AFP via Getty Images)12:51Richard Fay
Pick your United side to face Villarreal 12:33KEY EVENT
United give Luke Shaw and Harry Maguire injury updatesLuke Shaw and Harry Maguire were not involved in Manchester United’s training session on the eve of their second Champions League group stage match against Villarreal.
Shaw and Maguire were both forced off in the 1-0 Premier League defeat to Aston Villa on Saturday and seem set to miss the Villarreal tie. Shaw is believed to have been unwell on the morning of the game.
You can read the full story here.
Over an hour to goSolskjaer and Varane are scheduled to start speaking at around 1:30pm BST today.
Solskjaer will be joined by Raphael Varane laterOle Gunnar Solskjaer will be joined by Raphael Varane for today’s press conference.
Raphael Varane (Image: Manchester United FC)Richard Fay
WelcomeHello and welcome to today’s press conference coverage.