Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had a little bit of fun with the media in the pre-match press conference ahead of the Newcastle clash, clearing some things up about the process of re-signing Cristiano Ronaldo.
One journalist started his question by noting that Solskjaer seemed ‘confused’ when he was asked about the prospect of Ronaldo returning during the final stages of the transfer window.
The Red Devils boss has now clarified that his non-committal ‘he knows we are here’ response at the time was not confusion on his part, he just couldn’t ‘say everything’ about the deal at that moment.
United hijacked the attempts of cross-city rivals Manchester City to secure the signing of Ronaldo late on, with the Telegraph adding that they’ve paid an initial fee of £12.85m to seal the return of their icon.
Solskjaer then raved about the impact that relentless hard-worker Ronaldo has already made at the club, as he’s come in and immediately set out the ‘demands’ and shown an ‘unbelievable focus’.
Solskjaer joked that the media were the ones being ‘confused’, not him as the Ronaldo transfer saga wore on:
“I wasn’t confused when I spoke to you. You were confused, I wasn’t. I was quite happy at that moment but couldn’t say everything, of course.”
“Cristiano coming back in, just the way he’s conducted himself this week as well, he’s come in and of course we know what he’s achieved in his career, but he’s come in here to achieve more.”
“He’s come in here to put demands, that’s what he does, he’s lived his life with the discipline of a top, top professional.”
“Ever since he came here, I remember, he was the first one who did the prep really well.”
“Every day, 45 minutes before the training session, we started looking at this kid doing this before training, and he’ll have the same effect now with all the players.”
“Even though the group… we have grown as a group over the last few years, I have to say the determination, the desire, the focus has improved over time, bit by bit.”
“Even bringing Raphael [Varane] in, he’s come in with a winners’ mentality, an unbelievable focus, but of course Cristiano comes in as well and there’s no place to hide when you’ve got winners like them.”
“You can’t go into training and give 95 per cent or not being focused and that’s what he demands off himself and off everyone else. It’s been great to have him in.”
It is nice to see Solskjaer show a bit more of the character that earned him the nickname of ‘baby-faced assassin’ during his playing days, the Norwegian is fiery when he wants to be.
Solskjaer reminding the media that he was just staying tight-lipped is exactly the kind of refreshing response that we can hopefully see more of from Premier League managers during conferences.
Ronaldo will be available to make his second debut for the Manchester outfit when they welcome Newcastle to Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon.