There’s so much talk about numbers and tactics with your Manchester United but how important are character and courage in a game like tomorrow and the rest of the season? 

RR: For tomorrow, it’s probably the most important part, character, energy, commitment to winning that game in that atmosphere, which will be probably pretty similar to the one at Leeds, for example. We’re all aware of the importance of that game for both sides, both for them it’s highly important and for us as well. For me, game plan and tactics is one thing tomorrow but the other thing, and probably the most important thing, is mentality, attitude, physicality and this will probably decide.

How surprised have you been, bearing in mind how talented these players are, that you haven’t reached the levels of consistency you’d want from them? 

RR: Well, I was not surprised. I knew that from the start. I think if you see the whole process over the last four and a half months, I think we have developed the team in some areas. But as you said, it’s all about being consistent and consistency. This is what we have to start. We have to start tomorrow with the best possible performance and, for tomorrow, it’s all about winning that game.

And in terms of personnel, I think Cristiano, Jesse and Luke were missing last weekend. Are any of those back or what’s the situation? 

RR: Cristiano is back again. Luke is still injured. We had to take him off at half-time and he’s having problems with his leg where he had his operation back in 2015. Yeh, the doctor told me that they decided to remove the metal things in his leg, that are two bolts that need to be removed and this will happen tomorrow. And that means he will be out for the next two or three weeks. Cavani is still injured. Rapha Varane is still injured, he will be missing out the game tomorrow and the same is true with Scott McTominay, I’m afraid, so he’s also out. He’s having problems with the sole of his foot. So those four players will be missing.

Erik ten Hag has a emerged a serious candidate to take over in the summer. What’s your assessment of his managerial qualities? 

RR: Well, I think this is the press conference for tomorrow’s game and I don’t intend to speak about any possible new managers here. As far as I know, all the managers with whom the club has spoken with so far are all top managers, top coaches. If this includes Erik ten Hag, it’s also true with him. That’s all that I can say at this stage. For me, it’s about preparing the team for tomorrow’s game and hopefully three points tomorrow.

You’ve spoken before about your overarching role at the club, have you been consulted at all during this process? 

RR: Well, I know with which coaches they have spoken, so far, and that’s why I can say all the coaches they have spoken to, so far, are top coaches, but again my focus is on tomorrow, the game tomorrow, and then the upcoming games, after tomorrow’s game.

And your own future has been spoken about this week as well, have you got plans yet, do you know what your career looks like after this summer? 

RR: Well, as you know, we have agreed upon a contract as an advisor and we will speak about that in the next couple of weeks I’m pretty sure, at the latest at the end of the season, but again, right now my full focus is on tomorrow.

You’ve talked a lot about balance since you came in and trying to find that balance between the attacking side and defensive side. Why do you think it’s been so difficult to achieve? 

RR: Well, it’s got to do with the kind of players that we have available. As you know we have quite a few strikers missing in the last weeks and months and, in the game like the game against Leicester when, on top of that, we also have Ronaldo not available, then we only had two or three strikers in the squad. That’s one reason, and the other reason is obviously the focus. In the first couple of weeks, we put our focus on being more stable defensively, conceding not that many goals, which we did, and then at one stage we also found out that we need a plan in possession off the ball to create chances ourselves. And we improved in that area, and then, as I said, a few players were missing out, and right now it’s about getting both together, bringing both parts together. What are we going to do in possession of the ball and still being aggressive and compact against the ball.

You face Everton tomorrow, clearly you’re now in a fight to try and qualify for the Champions League, they’re fighting to stay in the Premier League. Two big clubs that are not where they expected to be at the start of the season. Is it a reminder that in football things aren’t a given and clubs find themselves in very unusual positions? 

RR: I think we spoke about that in recent press conferences, pre and post-match, that happens in football, not only in England, also in other leagues, but for us again, it’s about being aware of the current situation. We still have a chance to qualify for the Champions League but in order to do that we need to win and we definitely need to win the game tomorrow.

You also spoke recently about Manchester City and Liverpool and what you think they’ve done well and what maybe this club can learn from what they’ve done in recent seasons, do you think that gap can be breached relatively quickly or if you think it’ll take a long time? 

RR: I think I also answered that question last week already. But obviously, this is possible, it also happened with some of those clubs and other clubs. But again, it doesn’t make sense to speak about that right now because it doesn’t help us to win points tomorrow, right now it’s present tense, it’s Goodison Park tomorrow at 12:30, highly important game for two big clubs and it’s up to us to show that we can and want to win the game.

Do you need to win every game now?

RR: In the first instance, we need to win the next game. Then we can speak about the other games. If you look at the current situation in the table, we cannot afford to drop points anymore. I think everybody in the squad is aware of that.

You spoke about needing to see character and commitment. Are you satisfied that you’ve always had that from the players while you’ve been here?

RR: Well, we had that quite often, but not consistently. We’ve had a good week of training, we trained well, we trained on a very aggressive level in the last couple of days. Now it’s up to us to play as we trained. As I said, it’s a question of who is more competitive tomorrow, who’s more aggressive, who’s winning the second balls. They are playing in a very direct way, obviously I watched the game against Burnley, probably one of those games where there was the lowest amount of time when the ball was in play. A lot of high balls, second balls, the ball was in the air quite often. We need to be prepared for that sort of competitive game tomorrow.

On Luke, the need to remove a couple of screws, is that what normally happens or is it a bit of a concern?

RR: To me, it came quite unexpectedly to be honest, and the same is true for our medical department. He told me during the international break when he was with the England squad that he had some problems there, then he played against Leicester but five minutes before half-time he had an issue where he had to be treated on the pitch. At half-time, the doctor came to see me to say he cannot play on. Since then, we’ve been discussing what is best. So now they decided to have those two bolts removed tomorrow.

He’s a loss for you. He’s one of the more progressive players.

RR: Of course, all those four players who are missing currently I would rather have available. But they are not. And that’s why we have to play with other players instead.

With the futures of certain players, Wayne Rooney says the club needs to target younger players. Someone said Paul Pogba looks like he’s leaving. Cristiano is possibly not the profile of player that is needed now. I know you said last week younger, hungry players are essential. With the squad management, do you think that can be achieved in one summer, or do you think it’s going to be a process over a number of years?

RR: I think we spoke about that today and in the most recent press conferences. It doesn’t make sense to speak about it all again. Former players or pundits are telling their opinion on our current situation is normal. That happens in other clubs as well. But again, for me, for us, the focus is on tomorrow and the next games.

Van de Beek obviously can’t play tomorrow but he’ll come back to the club in the summer. Do you think he has a role to play at Manchester United next season?

RR: Why not? Of course it depends on the new manager and the way he wants to play. For Donny, what he told me in quite a few conversations we had is that he wants regular game time in order to qualify for the World Cup squad for the Netherlands. This needs to be discussed once we know who is the new manager.

Do you think he’s a player that is physical enough? Because you’ve said the squad lacks physicality.

RR: Again, I will not be the manager next season.

If they want advice off you, they’re going to consult with you…

RR: But still, it depends on how you want to play. Do you want to play more possession based football, do you want to play counter-pressing, pressing kind of football. It also depends on that and what kind of other players will be coming. The squad needs to be rebuilt in the summer, that’s clear, but those are questions that it doesn’t make sense to speak about right now. I like Donny as a player. He had a lot of rivalry in his position from his other players, high-level competition, and that’s why he didn’t get enough game time and why he asked me to give him the chance to go elsewhere. Unfortunately he was injured in the last couple of weeks and couldn’t play, tomorrow he couldn’t play anyway, but in the next seven or eight games he will hopefully help them stay in the league and get as much game time as possible.

You spoke about the need for physicality if you’re going to get a good result tomorrow. You weren’t particularly impressed with the physicality levels of your team against Leicester. Have you seen an improvement in training this week that maybe suggests you will get what you want in the game tomorrow?

RR: Yes, we did, as I told you, the training level was good on Tuesday and Wednesday. Very intense. Very aggressive. Yes, I very much hope we can show that aggressiveness and competitive way of playing tomorrow.

I know it’s very much the here and now for you, but it’s quite a unique position that you’re in, as there’s a new manager coming in and quite often the old manager goes. But actually you’ll be in a position to still be here. Will you present some very thorough insight and recommendations to the next manager? Whether he takes it on or not, will you present your findings on the squad?

RR: I have already done this. Not to any new managers, but of course inside the club. I’ve already told them how I see the current squad and what needs to happen in my opinion. And the rest I cannot answer right now. It depends on the new manager, on whether he’s interested in that, whether he’s willing to listen to my opinion. We have to wait and see what happens.

Have you done that in conversational form or have you presented written findings?

RR: No, I haven’t done it on a piece of paper, but I’ve spoken regularly with board managers and they know what I think needs to happen in the summer.

I appreciate you don’t want to speak about individuals in regards to the next manager, but knowing what you know, what would your single most important bit of advice be?

RR: Well, again, this is the press conference for the Everton game. If that happens, if the new manager is announced and wants to get my advice, I’m obviously more than happy to speak to him about that, but for now this will be something in private and internal and nothing I want to discuss in the press conference before the Everton game.

You said United can’t afford to drop anymore points, but you’ve not won more than three games in a row all season, so how do you get the belief you can put the run together that you need to get in to the top four?

RR: Because I know that the team is able to do that and win three games in a row. But now it’s only about starting to win the next game. We didn’t win against Leicester, now it’s an away game against Everton, as I said, a highly important game for both teams, and we need to start tomorrow to get three points, then hopefully get another three points against Norwich.

Do you think the players believe they can finish in the top four?

RR: Yes. Of course. They have to. They’re playing for Manchester United. Of course they have to believe we are able to win away at Everton. I’m pretty sure we can show that in tomorrow’s performance.

You didn’t play with a recognised striker for the first 45 minutes against Leicester. You mentioned the club need a striker. What sorts of attributes are you looking for in a striker for Manchester United in the eight game period? Strong, chasing second balls, running the channels, a target man?

RR: Right now, we play with the strikers that we have. Cristiano is available again which is good and then we will see, with which formation we play the game tomorrow, and have enough offensive strike power on the pitch, for next season it’s a different story. For now, we have to play in a formation where we can make use of the strikers that are available right now.

Will you be giving advice on what sort of attributes United need in a striker going forward?

RR: Yes, I could. But it’s also a question of who is available and what sort of manager the new striker wants, so nothing to discuss right now.