Any updates on injuries? Anthony Martial and Victor Lindelof picked up injuries on international duty.
I don’t know about Anthony, he didn’t join in training this morning but Marcus and Mason trained for the first time this morning and hopefully they can get through that with no reaction. If they complete the session tomorrow they might be available for selection. Neither of them [Martial nor Lindelof] trained this morning. We are still waiting for final confirmation on how they are. Marcus and Mason need to get through the session tomorrow. They both joined in this morning and hopefully they don’t get any reaction. If they complete the session tomorrow they’ll be available for selection.
What are your thoughts about facing Brighton who have picked up some form but are still in trouble at the bottom of the table?
OGS: Since I came we’ve played them quite a few times and we’ve always had some hard fought games, difficult games. I just said to MUTV when you prepare for a game against Brighton you can see all our players with bright eyes because they respect the way they play and the quality they’ve had against us. We know we have to be on our best to earn the right to play. You have to work really hard to get the ball off them.
In your programme notes you said you want to have a successful end to the season. Looking ahead, this is a time where you make decisions over players’ futures. Are you pretty certain of the players you want to keep for next season and the players who will be able to leave?
OGS: Of course we have a plan ahead. It’s a plan that we think is going to happen. Two months is a long time in football but things might change. There are obviously a couple of players where their future is not decided yet. Some without contracts, some with contracts and we do have a certain picture of how we think the squad is going to look in August.
Feels strange not to be asking you about Paul Pogba following an international break. It’s all rather quiet on that front, he’s just been playing football. He’s got quite a lot of minutes under his belt as well. How’s he looking, how do you think he played in the international break and how much of a boost is it to have him from now until the end of the season?
OGS: It’s a massive boost. He’s come back bright and is ready to go. We know how important he will be for us and how important he has been. To have players of his quality out for longer periods shows the quality of the others, that we have done so well. But towards the end of this season having Paul back fit and getting our forwards firing again, hopefully we can get that spark and score more goals again.
What should we read in to the selection of your goalkeeper at the weekend, given Dean played all those games before the break and David had been your no.1?
OGS: I have the great option of two top goalkeepers. It’s a pleasure to have them here. We’ve got nine plus hopefully five games to go. We want to go all the way in the Europa League. I’m sure you’ll see both of them playing in goal for us.
Can I ask you about the new anti-racism campaign from Manchester United? It’s pretty startling. We’ve heard lots of words before but do you get the sense there’s some momentum and we’re going to see action?
OGS: We certainly hope so. This campaign will have an impact and be seen. I’m very proud that we as a club keep campaigning. You’ll see at the stadium on Sunday that we mean business. It’s time that action takes place over words.
Barcelona appear to have made their move for Erling Haaland. Is he a player that you can afford to miss out on for a second time?
OGS: I’m focussing on the next two months. There’s only so many places that a player can go to and for us, we want to focus on the ones who are here. I’ve worked with Erling but it’s not right for me to talk about him. I can talk about him as an ex-coach of his but he will make his own mind up.
Looking to the game ahead, the last time you played Brighton it was quite a hectic game where you got the winner after the referee blew the full-time whistle. I asked you after that game about Aaron Wan-Bissaka and you said his great trait was that he was learning very quickly. How would you say he’s developed over the course of this season?
OGS: I think he’s done remarkably well and his improvement has been there for everyone to see. He’s still defensively solid. One against one he’s still great. What I like is that he contributes more and more going forward, creating chances and joining in. But it’s still very early in his full-back career. I think we’ll see a lot more improvement from Aaron and we see it in training.
You’ve managed to manage the situation with De Gea and Henderson well all season, giving them games in different competitions. But do you feel like you’ve got a decision to make in the summer? A second season of not being sure who is no.1 seems to be a bit unlikely considering both are established international keepers.
OGS: I understand the question and the narrative in the media. Where there can be potential tension or controversy, that’s where everyone wants to hear a comment from me. What I can say, is what I’ve said so many times, that I’ve got great options playing the two of them. Top keepers but of course both want to play as much as possible. That will be decided on merit. We’ll have to see who we think is going to give us a win on any given day.
Are Manchester United the sort of club that would conduct transfer talks very privately rather than have a blow by blow account like what we’ve seen in the last 24 hours?
OGS: Well, I think the way the world works at the moment, you’d like to do all your business on the quiet. But there’s platforms everywhere, the media makes that more difficult, and who can you trust. But hopefully we can see soon with players that’s no one has written about. We conduct our recruitment business, scouting and the players we’re interested in, we do it the right way.
Dean’s had his six games in goal now. Is it fair to say he’s your no.1?
OGS: With Dean and David, same again, the two keepers will probably be needed in these last games. They both know we value you them highly. It’s a difficult decision to leave one of them out. It’s an easy decision to give them the nod. It’s a good decision to make. You’ll probably see both of them.
On Haaland talks, given that now seems to be in motion now, is he still a player that interests you and do you think he’s someone you’ll be in for?
OGS: Who we’re in for and who we will go for, as I’ve just answered, I’m not going to comment on that.
Looking at the international break, once again Jesse did absolutely superbly. He was an outstanding performer for England. I know you said previously that you sent him to West Ham on loan to get game time and he’s doing exceptionally well there and proving his quality. West Ham are harbouring hopes of wanting to sign him permanently in the summer. I’m guessing the way you’ve seen him perform has reignited your desire to keep him at United. If he plays really well in the Euros, you couldn’t be seen to be selling a player of his quality.
OGS: I’ve always rated Jesse very highly. For different reasons, it hasn’t worked out for him in the last year or so. But he knows what I feel about him, both as a person and a player. The way he’s handled things that people don’t really know about has been an example for everyone to follow. He’s kept his head down, focussed on his football, and he gets his reward with his performances. Coming back for England, getting three caps, he played really well. It’s great. On a personal level, I’m so happy for Jesse because I know how hard he’s worked for this and on a professional level, we know what he can do. He’s a Man United player, he knows what we expect, the standard here, and he’s definitely helped his own career.
Was this move to West Ham always a temporary thing to get him playing again and get his confidence back up, to get him back in your squad for next time?
OGS: Sometimes, as a manager, you can think only about yourself and your own squad. The selfish thing to do would’ve been to keep Jesse because he would’ve got a chance. He knows that. He knows we made the decision to let him go because it was something he would benefit from. It was for everything Jesse has done for the club, he deserved to play more, because there’s the Euros in the summer and we hope he’s going to be part of it.
In previous transfer windows, we’ve seen it go right down to the deadline before players come in. How important is it this time, with the Euros coming up, there’s the chance they do well and the price goes up, to get things done early? Not letting it drift to the last day again. How confident are you and how important is it?
OGS: Every manager in the world would like to have the players available as soon as possible to put their coaching and plans together. That’s not how the world works all the time. If your target, if you have to stay until the last day because he’s the one, like Bruno for example, we had to wait but we knew he was the one for us. That worked out well. Players can adapt very quickly if they’re the right fit. We do our recruitment and hopefully everything is moving along nicely.
I see what you’re saying, and with certain players you’ve got to wait, but there are a lot of other clubs who seem to get business done quickly and a lot of times United have gone right to the wire. Yet you would think it’s United, so why can’t things get done quicker? Are you hopeful they will this time?
OGS: As I said, all managers would like their squad sorted as soon as possible, but I’m not the one in the trenches with the negotiations. I leave that to the club and so far they’ve done a good job. We’ve got the targets we really wanted and we’ve been building, strengthening the squad. There’s always an opportunity every transfer window, even though this one will be a different one because of the pandemic and all the money teams have lost.
It’s well known you’re going to be in the market for a striker this summer, depending on what happens with Edinson. Aguero he’s just announced he’s leaving Man City. I’m not asking for you to comment specifically on Aguero, but it is possible to do a deal with a rival? It’s very rarer that a player moves between the Manchester clubs and even rarer that a player who moves from City to United. Obviously Tevez was the last one who went the other way. Is it possible for that sort of deal to be done in the modern game?
OGS: When I played for Man United, if a rival club tried to sign me, and I went to a rival club, where’s your loyalty? Loyalty is one of the values I put highly. I wouldn’t expect any player who’d played for a club for 10 years to go to their local rival. I know we’re professional, but when you play for Man United, you don’t go for Man City. We’ve had examples of that and I didn’t agree with those moves. I don’t want to name names, but you know who I’m talking about.
You and your players have been brilliant in your response to racism. I just wonder if we don’t see an improvement in the coming months, would you like to see something done like Thierry Henry has done? High profile players, yourself, the club, would you like to see them boycott these platforms?
OGS: I respect his decision to do that. Then again, social media is a good platform to do good things. Marcus is probably the best example of this. You’ve got a chance to make a difference using the platform. The main thing is we’ve got to stop this. It’s unacceptable that it’s possible to abuse and discriminate. For me, the platforms have to be stronger with validating accounts.
You spoke about the importance of Pogba earlier. There’s still no sign of a new contract. If that’s still the case in the summer, as the person in charge of the footballing side, would you be arguing to keep him for another year and risk losing him for free?
OGS: Paul has always wanted the best for United and has been important for the squad on and off the pitch. Paul is a player that we want to see at Man United. Just to have him back fit for the last two months is going to be important for us. He can be the difference in points and going through in Europe. The focus is on finishing the season strongly and Paul knows what my feelings are.
Donny didn’t start for Holland in the international break and he’s not fully settled here yet. Have you noticed his confidence or spark being affected this season and how do you try and manage him through that and get him firing for next season?
OGS: He’s scored some absolute crackers in training this morning. Sometimes it’s natural if you don’t play or you get injuries you lose that spark, you go away with your national team, I can speak from experience, I’d go away to Norway and get the feel about myself again, and he’s gone there and in training this morning he scored absolute top goals. It’s done him the world of good going away and scoring from Holland and we hope we can see that for the last seven or eight weeks of the season.
It’s understandable in this season that players are carrying knocks. Marcus’ representatives have said he’s not been fit for two seasons. With the congested end to the season is there a concern that we won’t see 100% fit Marcus for some time?
OGS: I don’t have any concerns about Marcus’ general fitness at all. Every football carries a little bit here or there. Very seldom can you be 100% fit. I don’t think anyone at this level can feel 100%. I’ve been impressed by Marcus’ resilience, his robustness, his character. He wants to play even though he’s feeling something. He doesn’t want to miss games because he loves United and he loves football too much to dip out. He wants to feel like he’s given everything. All credit to him. Of course, with the little knocks and what he’s carrying, he’s got great staff to look after him.
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