Q&A: Read our interview with Christian Eriksen

Monday 28 August 2023 13:49

Christian Eriksen acknowledges that improvements are required if Manchester United want to achieve a successful season in 2023/24.

The 31-year-old recently sat down to exclusive chat with United Review, ahead of our 3-2 home victory against Nottingham Forest on Saturday.

Popping up with our first goal as the Reds came from two goals down to see off Steve Cooper's side, Christian was keen to share his thoughts on a range of topics, with the new season still in it's relative infancy.

From Rasmus Hojlund to his Danish heroes, to how he has settled in to life here in Manchester, scroll down to find out everything Eriksen had to say...
Eriksen talks through his goal Video

Eriksen talks through his goal

Christian Eriksen looks back on his first start of the 2023/24 season, in Saturday's dramatic win at Old Trafford...

We’re two weeks into the new season, Christian, so how would you assess our start?
“Obviously it’s just the start of the season, but I think we are not in the place we wanted to be results-wise. The only positive is we started better than last season, a few more points than last season. But we all know that we can, and we want to be, a lot better.”

We began last season slowly and bounced back strongly – does that stand us in good stead?

“Yes, it does. It’s difficult – you can always look back but, in the end, you’re going to do what you can and that is in the present. And we will have to work a lot to change and get a better feeling than what we had a few days ago [at Tottenham].”

What’s the key to establishing rhythm? Right now, of course, we’re not playing every midweek like we were a few months ago..
“At the start of the season, it’s a build-up – getting the feelings and getting the confidence to be able to play. Always when you lose, the confidence and the feeling is bad, which it has to be, then it’s up to us to change it. Like you said, there’s no midweek game so there is a lot of training to go into the next game and really being focused on the next game. And that’s going to be the same now.”
Does that help us get used to any tweaks to the system we might be making – that we are able to train more right now?
“I think it’s always good for a training week to see where the manager wants you to play and how we want to play. And, obviously, who we are going to play as an opponent. But, in the end, it’s up to us. And if there are no [midweek] games, it doesn’t matter. You’re still going to be able to play at the end of the week and then you have to be focused for that.”

It’s year two for you here in Manchester. Are you and your family settled in the area now?
“I think we settled really quickly. We had a very, very good reception last year and it has continued really. So, yeah, we’re having a very good time!”

We know there’s another Dane here with Rasmus Hojlund arriving. Are you helping him to settle in off the pitch?
“I’ve tried my best but he’s a big boy! He knows his way around, and he will find his way.”

Eriksen: I’m happy there’s another Dane at United!


Christian says he is excited to work with fellow compatriot Rasmus Hojlund this season.

You know him better than most, having played with him a lot for Denmark, so what is he like as a character as well as on the pitch?
“He’s a guy who holds his ground. He doesn’t back down from anything. He’s really a front-foot guy, who is aggressive and really attack-minded. But, at the same time, a nice guy outside of football.”

You were perhaps a similar age when you came over to England. Can you pass on that experience of what it was like being a youngster coming over to this country?

“Yeah, I definitely will [pass that experience on] but he will definitely see it for himself, that the Premier League is different compared to any other league he’s been at before. So he’s going to have to adapt. But I’m sure he will adapt quickly.”

We can only imagine back home in Denmark they must be so proud having two big players at United. How has it gone down over there?
“I know it’s been a massive, massive thing and still is. Obviously, it’s going to explode even more when he is going to have his debut. I’m happy there’s another Dane at United who can show off the Danish flag.”

We know we have great support in Scandinavia as a whole. We saw a bit of that in pre-season again, over in Norway, and it’s something that is going to continue, isn’t it...
“I hope so! I mean United as a brand, as a club, as a logo itself, is massive in Scandinavia, and Denmark as well. So, you know, we love the support from anywhere. Obviously, when you’re from Scandinavia, I know how big it is. So it’s extra special.”
We’re going back a bit here, but we have a good connection with Denmark. Peter Schmeichel was a huge player and John Sivebaek scored the first goal under Sir Alex Ferguson...
“Yeah, they’re a bit before my time – even Peter is a bit, I wasn’t that old when he was almost retired. But, you know, Peter Schmeichel is a name for what he has done for this club and he is still involved today. So you still see him pop up somewhere!”

Going back a bit further, Jesper Olsen was a great player for United and Ajax too…
“One hundred per cent. Like I said, it was a while ago but obviously he is still a very big name again in Denmark. It’s a very positive and big name, not only for playing for United but for his career in general, and playing for the national team.”

There was also the Denmark team of 1992, of which Peter Schmeichel was a big part of the European Championship success, of course. What has that meant to the nation?
“It’s still massive. I mean it’s the only trophy we’ve won as the Danish national team so it’s still the biggest one we have. There have been books written, movies made from back then, all about the win. It’s something that really in Denmark is still highly rated.”

Back to the present day and it’s 30 games unbeaten at Old Trafford (before the Nottingham Forest match) in all competitions. Are you players aware of that record and how strong we’ve been at home?
“Yeah, I think it came to my mind, for my mind definitely, towards the end of last season. I didn’t look at it in between [games last season] but then, in the end, when all the stats came out before the season finished, that we were on that high at Old Trafford and we will want to keep that. And we will have to keep that going because away from home we have not been as good as we need to be. So, at home, we need to catch up and continue like we did last season.”
We’ve also been looking at your stats, Christian. Eight assists in the Premier League and, in terms of assists per 90 minutes it was the best at United (level with Bruno Fernandes overall) and fifth in the whole Premier League. How big a part of your game are those assists?
“It has always been a very big part of my game. I think, even when I was at Spurs, there were loads of assists and it’s the same now. Obviously, my role is a bit different on the pitch. And, also, football has changed, even from back then. But, in the end, I would like to assist and also I just like to help the team. If it’s the ‘pre-assist’ before, that’s going to help the team to create a good chance, then I’m up for it too.”