Exclusive Q and A Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on award winners and Man Utd aims for the new season


It’s been a uniquely short pre-season – are the players are ready?
“We’re as ready as we can be. We’ve had a strange pre-season. We’ve had players away on internationals, we’ve had some players working here and some players are just getting back fit, so it’s been a strange pre-season, but it’s been a good one for the ones who have been working hard. We played in the Europa League until 16 or 17 August, so until about a month ago, so that will stand us in good stead. That was almost like our pre-season.”

How are the players, as I guess some of them have only really had a few training sessions?
“The players are at different stages. Mentally, I think everyone’s ready. Physically they’re at different stages, some of them have played more games than others. So we’ll have to be clever and good about when to play players because we know this period now until the first international break is a hugely important one. We need points and the players need games, but some of them haven’t trained enough or had enough football and some of them have been in quarantine. It’s just one of these situations which we’ve adapted to really well before, and the players have done well.”

What’s the latest team news?
“Phil Jones is still out. Axel [Tuanzebe] is not 100 per cent back with us yet, but he’s on the grass running which is a positive. Apart from that, we don’t have any serious injuries but, as we said, the players are at different stages of their training programmes.”

How’s Donny been settling in and is he ready for the mayhem of the Premier League?!
“I think so – well I know so! He’s been at a fantastic club and very well educated there, of course. He’s a very grounded boy who is a smashing personality, always positive. He’s a very, very good player with different qualities to many of the others that we’ve had, so I’m delighted with that transfer and delighted with how he’s fitted into the group. He’s a big breath of positive energy.”

Is Teden Mengi now part of the first-team squad?
“He’s jumped up. He’ll probably play some U23s games this season when it’s possible for him. He needs games at that stage regularly. But he’s done absolutely brilliantly in training and he came on for half an hour against Villa and didn’t put a foot wrong. He’s with us every single day.”


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