Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is looking forward to seeing Diogo Dalot again, when the full-back’s loan club AC Milan go up against Manchester United at Old Trafford tonight (Thursday).
The Portuguese defender joined the Italians on a season-long deal in October and has made 20 appearances so far for the Rossoneri, scoring two goals, including one in Sunday’s 2-0 win at Hellas Verona.
In his matchday Q&A, Ole communicated his happiness at seeing Diogo feature for one of Europe’s giants, and said it would be good for fans to see just how he is getting along first-hand.
Read the full transcript of the interview, and watch the video, below…
Ole relishing Rossoneri reunionVideo
Ole, firstly congratulations to John Murtough and Darren Fletcher on their new appointments at the club…
“Yeah, definitely. It’s an exciting appointment, of course. Darren came in a few months ago and now he steps into this position as well and of course I’ve worked with John since I came to the club. It’s a continuation, or we’re building on what we’ve been working on. We’re a work in progress but it’s something we’re really passionate about: to work on the culture in the club, work on the Academy and all parts of the club.”
Turning our attention to the game, what’s the latest team news in terms of your injuries?
“Yeah still a few players unavailable, so we’ll be without David [De Gea], Phil Jones of course, Paul [Pogba]’s not ready. Donny [van de Beek] won’t be ready. Juan [Mata] won’t be ready. Edinson [Cavani is] not there yet and Marcus [Rashford] is probably out as well. So there’s quite a long list there, but look at the ones who are available instead.”
Yeah, it’s a growing list but I guess there’s a lot of football being played and these things do accumulate over a season, but there’s still plenty of talent at your disposal…
“Yes, of course. We’re in good form. The mental boost Sunday [the 2-0 win at Manchester City] gave us, the morale boost, confidence boost – of course, we’re looking forward to this one. It’s a big game and a great club that we’re playing against. They’ve got the tradition, the history, quality, they’ve got class. It’s always been a club we’ve had good relationships with.”
It’s always been a club admired throughout the footballing world and again it’s another Europa League tie which feels like a Champions League match…
“That’s just the way it is and this is definitely one for the supporters to have a look at. I feel Milan as well, have an exciting new team, a young team, even though Zlatan [Ibrahimovic]’s playing! He comes in and gives them the experience. But they’ve rebuilt and now they’re second in the league and challenging to win [it]. Of course, it’s a good, good challenge for us.”
It’s just a shame Ibra isn’t available for the first game, it’s a shame for the footballing world watching of course. Diogo Dalot does return to Old Trafford, though…
“Diogo has done really well, he scored a very good goal this weekend and he’s enjoying his time over there. It’s a chance to have a look at him for both sets of fans. We’re very happy with Diogo, that he went there to get the experience of playing for such a massive, iconic club and getting the standards required every single week.”
Last time out: United 7 Milan 2 (agg.)Video
In the current climate, does it really matter which leg is first, home or away?
“No, I don’t think so. I’ve never been too fussed about home or away first. Sometimes to have the away game last might be a good thing because if you do your job here at home, you’ve got a good starting point. Of course, it’s two massive games and we’ve got the league and FA Cup in [March] as well, so we’ve still got many, many things to focus on.”
Just on some of the memorable encounters we’ve had with AC Milan in the past. You were in the squad in 2007, didn’t get on the pitch unfortunately when they beat us on aggregate, but there have been some really terrific battles between us and Milan over the years…
“Yeah, fantastic games. I remember the goals Kaka scored at Old Trafford [in the 3-2 win], what a tremendous footballer he was. I still remember loads of games and you know the team with [Andrea] Pirlo and [Gennaro] Gattuso and [Clarence] Seedorf and all them. It was a fantastic team.”