There has been two statements from United today. What are your thoughts on the decision to allow Antony back in to training and to play? Might it be a distraction?
We made the statement, so I refer to the statement. I think everything has been made clear in the statement. No, I don’t think it’s a distraction. We focus on the games.
The other statement regarded Lisandro Martinez. How frustrating is that for you and your injury list? Is there anyone back for you tomorrow?
We have seen some players back on Tuesday. For tomorrow players who were out of the squad on Tuesday are back. Scott McTominay, Christian Eriksen, they are back.
In terms of Antony, did you have to think before you brought him back in to the squad? People will have opinions on whether he should be there or not.
I think we explained it in the statement so I will keep referring to that.
You’re not the only club that’s got a lot of injuries at the moment. Next season, the Champions League expands, there’s the new club World Cup coming in as well. There are more demands on players. How do you deal with that? Is it a bigger squad? Is it limiting the number of games players play?
We already did. We already expanded the squad this season because you’ve made the reason clear. We had the World Cup in the middle of the season, so a longer season, and we had to play a longer season as well with the FA Cup, then Nations League. So there was a shorter break and every time the schedule is expanding. The load on the players is too much. It’s such a great overload. Maybe colleagues of mine have already pointed to that and I have pointed to that as well. But it kept going and we keep expanding the schedule. But anywhere it will stop and players can’t do anymore with this overload, which I think is what you see with many squads in this moment.
The statement on Antony doesn’t say when he will resume training and playing. Can you give us any clarity on the timescale and his fitness?
On Saturday he will be back in the training, so tomorrow.
You’re comfortable with his fitness levels?
I will have to see but I think so.
A lot of your fans will think you’ve got clarity on one player but another player who has been in a lot of the headlines lately, Jadon Sancho, is there no chance of any progress with that at this stage? Are you not tempted to seek a little bit of clarity with him?
Many of you ask me so often this question and I have said everything.
How long can that situation go on for though?
I have said everything.
I just want to ask you about Sofyan Amrabat. He had a really impressive debut. What do you think his greatest asset is? Is it his technical ability or his energy and stamina?
As you say, he has more abilities. You need as a player at the highest level the biggest skill set. I think his stamina, dynamics, is one of his biggest.
Against Burnley you had 38% possession which seems a small amount given your history at Ajax of always having the ball. Do you think United need to have more possession and how important is Amrabat to that aim?
You don’t always need so much possession to have control of the game. I think against Burnley we had across the whole game we had control of the game. But yeh, I prefer to have it, like against Crystal Palace.
With players coming back to the squad you have more options. In these last two games you’ve given more opportunities to young players like Hannibal and Pellistri and Gore. In the future, with even more tighter fixtures, with the players have more time?
It depends on their performances, on their levels, on what they show, what they contribute. It’s only about that. You play the team, you make the selection based on the opportunity to win games.
How different against this game against Crystal Palace be compared to the one you’ve just played against them in the EFL Cup? The starting XIs will be different so what are you expecting from them?
Definitely, I think both sides will be different. But we got believe from it but I know the opponent is looking for revenge, clear, and that will be their fuel.
In terms of the young players, you mentioned on Tuesday night the young players have shown you in training that they deserve to get the shirt. How important is that going to be in this period where you do have a number of injuries?
You’ve seen already. When you develop players you see the progress can help you through tough situations. But it’s good also for the club to develop such players and for the players to get in to professional, top football. So I like to develop young players but the mentality has to be right. You have to deserve the badge and every time you have to prove it. In training, and especially in games.