Ole Gunnar Solskjaer interview: Man Utd boss on Cristiano Ronaldo’s finishing and stopping Liverpool

“I see them up close every day and they are special athletes and performers.”

Manchester United are within the midst of a probably pivotal second of their season however Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is satisfied his gamers might be embracing the problem of dealing with Liverpool on Sunday, quite than feeling the stress.

“Big players relish these games,” he tells Sky Sports with a smile.

Rain showers had rolled by means of Friday morning’s coaching session and there are a handful of key gamers carrying knocks, however talking to Solskjaer after his pre-match press convention, his temper is optimistic and formidable. “The mentality they show to be ready for Sunday after Wednesday night is fantastic.”

The extraordinary second-half fightback in opposition to Atalanta within the Champions League has definitely rejuvenated the group. After the poor 4-2 defeat at Leicester final Saturday, there have been alarm bells ringing when United trailed 2-0 at half-time. At least from the surface.

Solskjaer insists his aspect had performed properly in that opening 45 minutes and solely trailed as a result of their medical guests had punished their very own wastefulness – though he concedes the narrative would have been totally different had they not delivered one other basic comeback; one other Old Trafford European evening to recollect.

It was a well timed enhance, with Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester City subsequent up in a gruelling run of Premier League fixtures.

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Cristiano Ronaldo, after all, was the final word hero of the piece, rising brilliantly to go within the late winner to finish the turnaround.

“Typical,” says Solskjaer.

But what makes Ronaldo so good at delivering in these essential moments? Solskjaer, who, as a striker scored loads of decisive objectives of his personal, places it all the way down to health, expertise and want.

“First of all, he is match sufficient to do it nonetheless. But he is performed this sport 500 instances earlier than. He’s been in that scenario so many instances, and it is one among them: ‘I do know what [team-mate Luke Shaw] goes to do, I do know the place I must be and I’m nonetheless able to doing it’. That’s key.

Image:
Ronaldo celebrates after scoring Manchester United's winner in opposition to Atalanta

“He’s changed his position from being a wide forward into more of a box centre forward because he knows how to score a goal, he wants to score goals. When he first came, with all the tricks and the pace, he had the hunger – and he’s still got the hunger.

“He’s executed what each participant has to do all through his profession, you need to evolve.”

That shift for Ronaldo, from an electric winger to a killer striker more focused on short bursts rather than sustained efforts, was in the spotlight earlier this week when, in the aftermath of the defeat to Leicester, it was questioned whether his presence in the side contributes to a disjointed, passive approach from United when they don’t have the ball.

It’s a suggestion Solskjaer firmly refutes. Adaptations need to be made to accommodate him, says the United boss, but Ronaldo applies his efforts exactly as he’s required to.

“When Cristiano got here to us, he’d not had a correct pre-season at Juventus and you possibly can see he is progressively getting fitter and fitter,” says Solskjaer. “Now he feels: ‘I’m getting in the direction of the extent I do know I might be’.

“Wednesday night, the focus, the physical effort, the run… he had the highest amount of sprints, the longest sprint distance, the longest high-intensity distance.

“We discuss gamers who run so much, he does as a lot as them. If individuals wish to criticise his work ethic, that is utterly flawed. You see him operating down the channels, which he has to do as a centre ahead.

“He does the work that we want him to do for the team. Of course, the team, when you have a player like him, you’ve got to get the best out of him, but he knows he’s part of the jigsaw of that team and he’s been brilliant.”

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United come up in opposition to one other sensible expertise this weekend when Mohamed Salah – who has now discovered the web 9 video games in a row – strains up for a Liverpool workforce who’re the highest scorers within the Premier League this season.

Against a United aspect with one clear sheet of their final 20 video games, there might be an expectation on Merseyside the Egyptian will proceed his sizzling streak.

“They will give us problems, definitely. But we need to find solutions, we need to be compact,” says Solskjaer. “But it’s in the key moments.

“Some of the objectives Salah has scored these days has been pure brilliance. In the moments, the large gamers flip up.”

Image:
Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah's shot maps within the Premier League and Champions League this season

Should Salah, who has hit goal-of-the-season contenders in opposition to Manchester City and Watford in current weeks, produce one other magic second to encourage his aspect to victory on Sunday, it might depart United seven factors behind their rivals and probably as many as eight off Premier League leaders Chelsea.

That could be a significant setback for a United aspect setting their sights on silverware this season after finishing second in 2020/21. But for Solskjaer and his gamers, he says the main focus is on efficiency over attainable outcomes.

“You cannot, in my experience, think consequence,” he stated. “You have to think responsibility and role.

“These large video games demand focus and mentality, full focus for 90 minutes.

“Do your best individually for the team. If your role is up and down the line, you do that to the best of your ability.

“In one large Champions League sport I used to be informed to discover a sure central defender and run him away to create area for others once we had the ball. That was my job.”

Solskjaer is being modest. Often his job was to make the distinction for his workforce, simply as Ronaldo and Salah might be instructed to do that Sunday, and simply as he did when these sides met in January 1999 within the FA Cup.

On that event he contributed to a different basic comeback, scoring an injury-time winner to ship United by means of. It’s his favorite reminiscence of the rivalry.

Image:
Solskjaer described this as his favorite second in Man Utd matches in opposition to Liverpool, scoring a last-gasp winner within the FA Cup in January 1999, slotting his end by means of the legs of Jamie Carragher

“I had three touches in that game,” Solskjaer remembers with amusing. “One to take it away from Scholesy, the second was to set myself up, and the third was through Jamie Carragher’s legs and into the net.”

Those video games – similar to Wednesday’s win – are treasured by United’s followers. They’ll hope for an additional on Sunday.

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Sunday twenty fourth October 4:00pm

Kick off 4:30pm

Follow all of the build-up to Manchester United vs Liverpool throughout Sky Sports News and Sky Sports’ digital platforms, together with unique interviews and knowledgeable perception.

Coverage will start on Sky Sports Premier League and Main Event from 4pm on Super Sunday, following West Ham vs Tottenham; kick-off 4.30pm. David Jones might be joined by Graeme Souness and Jamie Redknapp within the studio, with Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville on the gantry with Martin Tyler for co-commentary.

You also can comply with all of the motion from Old Trafford throughout our devoted stay weblog throughout Sky Sports’ digital platforms, together with in-game clips and free match highlights shortly after full-time.

Watch all of the post-match evaluation and interviews on Sky Sports Premier League, plus learn the most recent options, pundit and supervisor response on SkySports.com and app.

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