“You know, we’ve progressed over the years – sixth the first when I was there for half a season, then third, second,” Solskjaer said on Monday. “You can see the progress, improvement, development and this season we still want to improve. Yeah, we’ve signed some players that have raised expectations. Other teams have signed players and improved as well so we’re in the same boat as all the top teams. There’s pressure all the time.
“I’m just looking forward to the response now and I’m in dialogue with the club all the time, so that’s an open, honest discussion all the time.”
Gasperini, for one, has some sympathy for his position, at least he had before his team was woken up at the Radisson Edwardian hotel in the city centre this morning by fire alarms at 4.51am, 5am, 5.36am, 6.11am, 6.31am and 7.13am, disruptions which the wife of Russia midfielder Ruslan Malinovskyi thought were deliberate. “I don’t think it was a casual incident. Do you think it’s just a [coincidence]? I don’t think so,” she wrote on Instagram before rallying Atalanta supporters to go full eye-for-an-eye for the return on Nov 2: “Such a warm welcome from local people is terrible. I hope our fans will support our players and, perhaps, the same thing will happen in a hotel in Italy.” Give over. The match is not until 8pm. They can sleep all day if they want. It’s not as if the Radisson is going to turf them out at 10am with the rest of the plebs.
The Atalanta manager, speaking before his early morning calls, thinks United are by no means as poor as their recent performances. “They’re going to want to pull out a really good reaction in front of their fans,” he said. “This is a different competition and it’s true to say that perhaps they’ve had a couple of setbacks of late, but by the same token I saw the game against Leicester and in the first half in particular they played really well.
“You have to bear in mind that sometimes you’re playing against good teams as well.But I think that the fact of the matter is, we’re playing against a top team. We are playing a top team and I don’t think they’re in crisis or difficulty from that point of view. I don’t think that’s the case at all.”
Groins latest: Raphael Varane and Anthony Martial have been ruled out for the home side, Berat Djimsiti, Robin Gosens and Hans Hateboer for the visitors who also have Matteo Pessina and Rafael Toloi struggling to overcome more minor injuries.
Join us for the team news from around 6.30pm.