Manchester United travel away from home to take on a struggling West Brom side, as they try to reduce the gap with table toppers Manchester City. United, who dropped points against Everton from a winning position are five points behind City having played a game more.
Speaking ahead of their match against West Brom, Solskjaer answered questions on injuries, United’s progress, their opponents and more.
“We’ve had a rare opportunity to do a little bit of training and some recovery, because you’ve got Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and not a game until Sunday, so that’s been a rarity for us really. Paul is still out. Eric has been training so that’s a boost for us.”
On game against West Brom
“Of course it’s an important game for us this weekend. And it’s an important spell. Every game you tick one off and it’s less and less possibility to catch up points on the teams in front of you.”
“That’s what we want to do and that’s what we’re here to do. Sunday is a big one for us in that respect, to get back to winning ways. The two points dropped against Everton was disappointing when it’s the last kick of the ball, but we bounced back really well in the cup against West Ham – we’re through, we’re in the quarters – and that was a step in the right direction. Another clean sheet.”
On United’s progress and goals
“You go into every season trying to improve and if you improve that’s a step forward. Is it a big enough step forward? We’ll have to see at the end, if we end up with trophies.”
“We’re still in competitions. Yes, we lost in the semis in the Carabao Cup. We’re in the quarters of the FA Cup, we’re still in Europe and we’re second in the league. So at the moment it looks like we’ve improved, but we’re going into the deciding period of the season so it’s now that we’ve got to kick on and keep our consistency and get the quality higher, eradicate some of the mistakes we’re making and be more clinical in front of goal.”
“I don’t want to say what a successful season is at the moment, but we have the chance to end this season with the feeling that it’s been successful, if we improve, because I think we’ve shown qualities that can win us trophies.”
On Fred’s 100th game for United
“He’s really done well. I’ve enjoyed working with him these past couple of seasons. When I came he was a boy who was struggling a little bit. I got numerous questions about Fred in press conferences early on. As I said then, players coming into a new country, it takes time to settle – and it took some time for Fred to settle.”
“When he has now, he’s grown in confidence. There’s less time in the Premier League than what he was used to. He’s quickened up his game, he’s not getting caught on the ball. I’m not going to take any credit for that of course. It’s the coaches – I think Michael Carrick and Kieran, they’ve been brilliant with him, but it’s Fred himself who has had the hunger and humility to learn and want to improve, stick at it and keep working. There are not a lot of people who can say they’ve played 100 games for Manchester United. Hopefully there will be many more to come – and hopefully he will score from outside the box soon but I’m not sure it’s going to be with his right. I’ve tried to tell him.”