I believe in my players: Ole

Lack of transfers not a big deal as Norwegian defends club, argues he has squad depth

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is choosing to put his faith in his current squad, most notably his midfield duo Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes as they host Tottenham at Old Trafford looking for their second Premier League win this sea
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is choosing to put his faith in his current squad, most notably his midfield duo Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes as they host Tottenham at Old Trafford looking for their second Premier League win this season.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes Manchester United have the squad depth to compete this season, despite a lack of new arrivals in the transfer market.

The United boss had stressed the need for new signings after United's 2-1 defeat by Sevilla in the Europa League semi-finals last season, but Dutch midfielder Donny van de Beek remains the Premier League club's only signing of the window.

"We've got players we believe in," he told reporters ahead of today's Premier League home clash against Tottenham Hotspur. "The window is still open and the club know my view and we're here to strengthen in the long term.

"When I talk about the squad depth, of course the performances last season didn't warrant me giving more of them more options... I think it's a different scenario now.

"I've seen many of the other players who didn't play too well the other season, play really well. We've lost loads of money, as the other clubs have as well. And when I talk about the squad depth, we've got a big squad."

United's plan to sign England forward Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund remains in limbo as both clubs could not agree on a fee. The transfer window closes tomorrow.

Solskjaer and Spurs boss Jose Mourinho have traded digs in the lead-up to today's game, but the Norwegian insisted he would not be drawn into further mind games.

"Jose has throughout the years given us some fantastic moments in football, in press conferences and on the pitch," he added.

"We are in strange times. You've got to sometimes have a bit of fun. Jose's a very charismatic coach and I've enjoyed in the media talking to him, enjoyed watching him. I've got ultimate respect for him as a coach and everything he's given football."

Solskjaer also confirmed Harry Maguire, who picked up an ankle injury against Brighton last week, would be fit for the clash.

Mourinho, meanwhile, has said he has already moaned enough about the club's packed fixture list and will not use it as an excuse ahead of the clash today.

POINT MADE

I don't want to moan. I moaned enough and I don't think anyone disagreed with me, even when I was moaning about the situation.

JOSE MOURINHO, Tottenham manager, on complaining about their packed schedule.

Spurs thrashed Maccabi Haifa 7-2 on Thursday in a Europa League play-off game to reach the group stage as they coped with a third home game in five days, including last Sunday's Newcastle United draw and Tuesday's League Cup shoot-out win over Chelsea.

Eric Dier, Toby Alderweireld and Steven Bergwijn have all started twice in 48 hours this week, while Solskjaer fielded a much-changed line-up for Wednesday's League Cup victory at Brighton.

Yet Mourinho is focused only on preparing Spurs, who confirmed a season-long loan deal for Brazilian striker Carlos Vinicius from Benfica on Friday, to make one last push against his former club.

"It's the last one, the last match," he said. "I don't want to moan. I moaned enough and I don't think anyone disagreed with me, even when I was moaning about the situation.

"But now (there) is only one more match, only the United match.

"They (United) had only one match for the week and probably the majority of the players who played are not going to play Sunday. But I want to forget that."

Mourinho also said forward Son Heung-min, the club's top scorer in the league with four goals this season, could play a part at Old Trafford after the South Korean recovered from a hamstring injury, which was not as bad as first feared.

"I don't want to lie to you and say he doesn't play and Sunday he's there," he added.

"At the same time, I don't want to say he plays and then he doesn't. So let's wait and see."

REUTERS


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 04, 2020, with the headline 'I believe in my players: Ole'. Print Edition | Subscribe