What would be your message to fans at the moment?
“Well, a little bit of what I’ve said here. Of course, we want to listen and it has to be in a peaceful manner. Please voice your opinions. We know that as a club we need to communicate better. As I said, if you refer back to the apologies, they all accepted it came out wrong and it was the wrong thing to do, which is a start. Let’s continue on that. I know that our fans want a team that is likeable, that is playing attacking football, that is scoring goals, that is winning trophies, being humble and working hard to getting better results. They can identify with them. We want to be a Man United team. I know that for fans, results are important. My job is the results and we want to get back to winning trophies. We haven’t won for a while and that is something we’re working on. That’s my responsibility and I’m sure our fans can see what the players are doing.”
In a season that has been so compacted, how do you adapt your fitness programming?
“We have got great staff; fantastic fitness staff. We have to work on… it’s been a process since I came in. We brought some young staff in – Charlie has been brilliant. We’re working on robustness, resilience. We have to be able to play 50 games. A winning Man United team has players who can play 45, 50, 50+ games at a high standard. That’s lifestyle; that’s what we do in training, having good habits, recovering well. When you don’t play, periodising really well so that you know you can play in 10 days. It needs planning. ‘Ok, you’re playing in seven days, you can train hard now’. When you are a sub, I know how difficult it can be to get the complete match fitness by not playing games. When you play games, you get into a rhythm and then all you have to hope for is not getting injuries.”
When you miss a game like you did on Sunday, does that affect your periodisation?
“It has changed the whole cycle, of course it has done. We had a game Thursday and prepared for Sunday again. Sunday would have been the perfect day to test them again, physically, but it was more of a mental challenge. The Monday was a harder day in training. It changes the whole thing, the whole plan. But you have to be adaptable and with the world that we live in now you can’t think that it’s going to be… that you get the fixture list in August and it won’t change. The boys have been terrific at that, at adapting to different challenges.”