Injury news ahead of the Man United game – Michail Antonio first?
Most of them are from last season. Is it eight? Mikey Antonio got injured against Swansea but the plan was for him to miss a couple of games. It was a big injury and we were prepared to have him missing a cople.
He is and was ahead of schedule. He is a good healer, a bit of a monster phyiscally. So, the fact is he is ahead which means he is playing for the U23s tonight and will miss United away but has trained with us since Monday. Tonight, he is playing and he should be in the squad at least for Southampton, but that was the plan all along.
What about Andy Carroll?
It looks like he is a bit further behind. Even last year, he was way behind but now he is training individually still. He is doing all the movements with the ball and if it continues like this he could train with us on Wednesday He will not be starting from zero but he will be in OK condition fitness wise.
There is some things you do individually and others in a group but since a long time ago, March, it looks the most promising situation for Andy. Of course I wanted him to be fit now but it’s not the case but it looks like there is a goal that is very near. If it goes like this before the break and we hope it does, I don’t know, maybe we will see him [before the international break].
Maybe, we will see. He always needs maximum ten days, couple of weeks to come back from any injury and play and that was also one of the reasons he was getting injured again.
I am fed up about this, when specialists and physios tell you its an injury they have never seen in their life. It was one of the strangest ones I have ever seen. They come out of nothing, basically. It looked like nothing then after half hour, everything, bad bad. Thank god it’s not but he is a good healer and way ahead.
Cheikhou and Lanzini should be back, hopefully, after Southampton so maybe for Newcastle. If not, then straight after the international break.
He just missed a few days because of his toe. His operation from last season has gone, it’s ok now. It was unbearable for him to play with that pain.
What about Diafra Sakho and Winston Reid?
Reid, he didn’t start the pre-season so missed Austria games but was with us and he joined us in Germany. He is fit after his operations after the Spurs game.
Sakho had a longer break, back operation and again he joined us in Germany, but he lacks match practice. He is training every day and he looks good. but he hasn’t played for a long time.
What is the latest with Manuel Lanzini?
With Manuel, look, no player is bigger than the club. I don’t mean contracts, just one player, he is part of the team like any other player. He is one of our key players, a great lad and he knows his situation.
I spoke with him last season, at the end of the season, then in the beginning of pre-season. He knows we are looking after him and that he has a big year ahead of him. We know his situation and we will do everything possible to sort him out.
He has a long contract already, but the owner and chairman always appreciate those situations and I know the chairman activated his clause well before, last time, than he could have done. No doubt he is a key player.
That’s what I am talking about. He never showed me, any sort of things that he is unhappy. Then of course, every players wants to use their situation in the best possible way but I know for sure that he is happy here.
Chicharito said he won’t celebrate if he scores this weekend…
So? It isn’t going to distract him from being concentrated and focused on the game. He looks good.
He was at the Confederations Cup so he, along with all he played last season, is not totally fit but he looks good. He is not 100 per cent but he looks hungry, sharp. He is really top class, an exceptional talent. Knows when and where to run, beat a defender, put himself in the right positions. You can see straight away that he is a top player and also a very, very nice lad.
Transfers – any more planned?
I am thankful and congratulate the board for the business we have done. Last year I said, despite all the injures we had, that we had a good quad and managed to put a good team out each game. Hence, we didn’t need to sign any squad players this summer.
We wanted more players to improve our first 11 and our game. We have wanted to get quality players, with something to prove and we wanted players that know the league and we got it.
William Carvalho – any interest and has he agreed a deal to sign for the club?
I don’t know but I know he is a good players and a lot of clubs have interest in him. Since he came on, not the market, but the radar and that’s all that I can say. Top players are hard to get but we are all looking to get them. It would be a bit rich, even today, for that money.
Again, a good player but to be fair we have done the business. One more I would love but if we have to sell one, even then, maybe. But the other positions, we done our priorities – right back, centre forward and left wing. Then Joe Hart happened and now, if one goes one will come maybe. If someone is not happy and there is the possibility to do a move and a good job then maybe.
We got our first targets. We had a list and we have got who we wanetd. We were also patient and not trying to jump to the third player down on the list, we got our first targets for the positions.
On the other side, we spent a lot of money but not crazy. Don’t forget that we offloaded some players that we didn’t want to go but we did. Fletcher, Randolph, Nordtveit, Valencia those players. The balance has been good, about £10m.
Could you add to the £10m by selling Adrian?
We are happy Joe has joined yes, it is a statement from the club, he is a great goalkeeper, England’s number one.
Joe wasn’t planned then suddenly he became available and in that moment, I spoke with the keepers and told them [Darren Randolph and Adrian] that they are both good and that if they want, we can sell one of them.
But the other one will have to stay because we need two top goalkeepers. The first opportunity came to Randy, he went to Middlesbrough, I spoke several times to Adrian and I told him that, he can’t be angry, disappointed maybe but I told him only if the club gets a good offer for him and plus, on top of that, if we can find a good replacement then maybe we can do him a favour.
But, the chairman wants him to stay, I want him to stay, he is a big part of this club. He is very important and we want to give him a longer contract to show him we respect him.
Are the players ready now for Man Utd?
There is excitement about the game. It’s not ideal playing there first game of the season but on the other hand, it’s brilliant, one of the greatest away games in the league. We have a chance, we are positive. They have improved the squad with quality and big transfers. They have already played one competitive game against Real Madrid as well.
We have some good memories from Old Trafford and we have drawn twice with me in charge there. We will have to be on top of our game, we are missing players, it could be better for us but then, of course we are positive.
It’s not ideal playing three league games away from home to start the season, is it?
Again, it’s not ideal but it’s only one game that they have changed, the Southampton one. It’s not ideal that we play three league and one cup game away from home but then it will even itself out.
As I said, its not ideal, therefore we have to be on top of our game on Sunday and as soon as we can get the points on the board, the more relaxed we will be in the next game if it is an away one.