byAdam BostockTuesday 14 September 2021 12:29
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It’s another new campaign in the Champions League but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s objective is an old one – to go all the way and win the final, just as he did as a Manchester United striker in 1998/99.The manager’s acquisition of two players who have lifted European club football’s most prestigious trophy more recently, and on multiple occasions, has given the Reds a boost, as the bid to hugely improve on last season’s group-stage exit begins tonight (Tuesday), in Bern, Switzerland.
Here’s what Ole had to say in his club media interview with Stewart Gardner, on the eve of our opening Group F game against Young Boys…
Ole, first of all, a word on the squad. Some of the guys who were missing at the weekend are not quite ready yet?
“No, we’re more or less the same squad and no reaction from the game. Of course, it’s still the second day only but they should be ready.”
When we were last here three years ago, there were concerns about the synthetic pitch. What do you make of it?
“At least Astroturf is green! Being from Norway, I’m used to Astroturf pitches. There’s absolutely no complaints. You can’t have any reason to misplace a pass, to be honest. And it seems a good one. I’ve not tested it yet but it should be good.”
VideoWatch our exclusive interview with Ole at the Wankdorf Stadium.I suppose that’s an important reason why you’re training on here?
“Yes, we just wanted to prepare and feel the surface, so we travelled early, and then recover.”
We made a brilliant start in the Champions League last year but then it didn’t work out in the end. Is that still in the minds of yourself and the players, that you don’t want to feel like that again?
“Of course, you’re at the start of a new competition and we want to win every game and go all the way. But we know that we have to take one game at a time. We started brilliantly last time and then it changed against Basaksehir, that was the game that we shouldn’t have lost. We just have to focus on [Young Boys] now.”
It’s the start of a period when there are loads of games, with cup competitions, so is this when the strength of the squad comes into play over the next few weeks?
“Yes, of course. Between these two international breaks, we have seven games. We started brilliantly against Newcastle of course with the result but we just have to go game by game by game, see who’s fit, see who’s ready and just keep the focus. Make sure we do our jobs.”
In the squad now you have players who have won multiple Champions Leagues. How important could that be in terms of this competition, this season with their experience and mindset?
“It can only be a good thing, of course. With Cristiano and Raphael coming in, they won it four times with Real Madrid and Cristiano won it here with us as well. I think it’s great for everyone in the team and in the squad to see those players up close. They’ve come in, gelled really well with the group and they’re here to help the team.”
What are you expecting from Young Boys? The stadium is going to be packed…
“Yes, the atmosphere’s going to be brilliant. They had a big game at the weekend against Zurich, they were top of the league, and they played really well. It’s a team of athletes, with loads of athleticism and high energy, and with the crowd, I’m sure they’re going to give it a good go.”