Mike Phelan, Nemanja Vidic & Wayne Rooney were on hand in Gothenburg today to take Manchester United’s press conference ahead of their Wednesday night fixture against FC Barcelona.
Sir Alex Ferguson didn’t travel with the squad and staff on the start of their Scandinavian pre-season tour due to ‘other business’ – he is set to fly out this afternoon to join up with squad, along with Sir Alex, Patrice Evra has rejoined in contention for selection on Wednesday night after the birth of his second child in Manchester.
Scott Wootton and Robbie Brady have also joined up with the squad in Gothenburg.
Below are the quotes for Tuesday’s press conference, credited to Nick Coppack and manutd.com
Picture courtesy of @DHLManUtdTour
Mike Phelan quotes:
“Every game we play is important but it’s still just part of our pre-season. Obviously it’s an attractive fixture for our fans and we hope it’s a good spectacle for the people of Gothenburg. We hope the weather improves and everybody enjoys themselves.”
“As a club, you look at the issues that may have caused injuries. Some of those are created on the pitch and there’s not a lot you can do about that. Maybe some have crept in through overuse or overwork but we’ve analysed those things and we’re sure our players are prepared for what’s always a hard league. All of these players are preparing for what could be a season of 60-plus games. That takes time, obviously. What we try and get to is a point where everybody is fit for selection in the first game of the season.”
“At the moment, Chris Smalling is going to be a bit longer in his recovery. He’s had a setback, an injury, and he’s progressing slowly. Jonny Evans will hopefully be available when we get back [from Euorpe]. He’s back doing light work on the training ground. We hope he’ll be available for the start of the season. He won’t have had the games under his belt but if he’s fit and progressing well we’ll push him forward.”
Nemanja Vidic quotes:
“I hope everyone can stay fit this season. The young players can learn from last year, so I’m confident we’ll be better this year.”
“We have a lot of players in defence. But that’s good for the team. The last two years we’ve had a lot of injuries in defence and we’ve had to bring Carrick into that position sometimes. But I believe this year we’ll all be in good shape and we’ll do the best we can to help the team do well.”
“We have two new players with us. We’ve improved a bit in the middle. Nick and Shinji have done well so far. We’ve had more experience than last year. We had some young players play a lot of games last season and they’ll have learned a lot. We all learned. In Europe we’ve had so much success in recent years – we’ve had three finals, a semi-final – and maybe we relaxed a bit last season. We were punished last season and we can’t allow that to happen again. We had a few injuries last season too. I hope everyone can stay fit this season. The young players can learn from last year, so I’m confident we’ll be better this year.”
“It’s hard to take when you lose the league in the last few minutes, but we don’t think about that now. We’ve had success in the past as well, but we forget about that too. We move forward. That’s something we’ve always been good at. Now we’re training hard and we’re playing Barcelona, who are a great team. We can test ourselves to see where we are.”
Wayne Rooney quotes:
“It’s great to be in Gothenburg, especially for the likes of myself and the other players who have just returned. We need to get our fitness up to speed. We’re playing against Barcelona and that’s a game we’re really looking forward to.”
“I’m happy with how I’m doing. I’ve been training for almost two weeks and I’ve been working hard.”
“Shinji’s settled quite quickly. He’s a talented player, he likes to get on the ball and keep it simple. He’s very effective on the ball. It’s great to have that sort of player in the team. I’m looking forward to playing with him and I think he’ll create a lot of chances for myself and the other forwards. It’s exciting to have him in the team.”
“We haven’t been here that long. It’s obviously a nice city and it’s great that two of the biggest teams in the world can play a game here. It’s exciting. We just want to put on an exciting game. We don’t get to see much, though. We just train and stay at the hotel.”
“It’s great to play in big games and Barcelona is one of them. It’s all part of our preparation and we need to make sure we do the right things. We want to enjoy the game and get our fitness ready for the first game of the season. The result, in some ways, isn’t the most important thing. What’s important is the fitness and the sharpness. I’m happy with how I’m doing. I’ve been training for almost two weeks and I’ve been working hard. Everything’s going well so far.”
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