Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Erling Haaland, Team News and Juan Mata

Solskjaer Haaland Mata

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer added fuel to speculation about Erling Haaland‘s future by telling reporters he is still in touch with the Borussia Dortmund striker.

Speaking ahead of tomorrow night’s Europa League clash with Real Sociedad, the Manchester United boss told the media that he “keep(s) in touch with Erling” and that it is “great to see him become the player he has become”.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Press Conference: Erling Haaland, Team News and Juan Mata

Solskjaer Wants to Respect Dortmund Despite Erling Haaland Comments

Solskjear worked with the Norwegian during his time in charge of Molde, where the pair spent the best part of two years together.

As the 20-year-old has provided eye-catching performances this season, his well-reported €75 million release clause (valid from 2022) has meant he is constantly linked with Europe’s biggest clubs.

The United manager refused to be drawn into speaking about a potential move for Haaland to United, saying: “I can’t speak too much about Erling – it’s disrespectful to say more than I know him and speak to him”.

Solskjaer did however hint that United have been following the Norwegian’s progress: “He is a Dortmund player and we wish him well there. Let’s see what life will bring later on. Who wasn’t interested in him a year ago? Everyone would say they’d take the best players in the world and Erling is a top player.”

Dean Henderson and Juan Mata Latest

While much of the focus from the pre-match press conference has been taken on the Haaland quotes, Solskjaer was also asked about Dean Henderson and Juan Mata.

When asked about Henderson, the United manager told the media: “Any player’s job is to keep the manager happy. It is not a bad headache to have. Dean has matured throughout the season. The Real Sociedad performance for me was his most assured”.

Asked about interest in Juan Mata, Solskjaer added: “I’m not surprised that teams are interested in him. One, he is a very good footballer, and two, he is a fantastic human being. I am sure Juan has been able to speak to other clubs if he wanted to. We have a good dialogue”.

Marcus Rashford Tribute and Team News

As Marcus Rashford made his debut for Manchester United five years ago, fittingly in a Europa League clash, Solskjaer paid tribute to Rashford: “He has had an incredible impact both on and off the pitch.

“He has matured into a proper young man. He knows what it takes to be a United player both on and off it. He is living proof of what we want to do at the club.”

The United boss updated the media on the fitness of the squad, saying that there have been no new injuries and ruled Donny van de Beek, Edinson Cavani and Scott McTominay out of Thursday’s (February 25) game.

Daniel James Form

Daniel James attended the press conference with his manager and was asked about his recent upturn in form, saying: “I wouldn’t say it (good form early on last season) surprised me. My start was down to excitement and enjoyment.”

“It is about not sticking head in the sand and trying to get back to the form I had at the start of my first season. I have still got so much to learn.”

The Welshman also highlighted the squad’s hunger for trophies this season: “You’ve seen this season we are so hungry to pick up silverware. This season we want to go that bit further.”

 

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