Everything Eriksen said in the pre-Sheriff press conference
Christian Eriksen was the Manchester United player who joined manager Erik ten Hag at our pre-match press conference ahead of Thursday’s Europa League meeting with Sheriff Tiraspol.
The pair sat down with reporters inside the Jimmy Murphy Centre at Carrington on Wednesday afternoon to look ahead to a matchday-five fixture in which the Reds will be hoping to keep the pressure on Real Sociedad at the top of Group E.
You can see everything that Erik said by clicking here, while you can also scroll down to see how Christian answered each question directed to him.
The Denmark midfielder spoke about the supporters, playing with Casemiro, the team’s development, the World Cup and much more…
Ten Hag & Eriksen's Sheriff press conference
Press conference | Don't miss what Erik ten Hag and Christian Eriksen told the media at Carrington...
“In terms of pressure on the game? No. That’s been the same. I think the focus on the outside is bigger. You see how many fans are at the training ground and the publicity around the club is a lot bigger but the football-wise? No.”
You were talking after the Chelsea game about that will to go to the end, that fighting spirit – do you feel there is an added pressure from the fan base? Especially after the criticism the fans had on the team last season? Can you feel that within the game, the fan base, that there is a bit of added pressure to get the result?
"No, I think it's very even, obviously I wasn't here last season so I don't know how they [the fans] reacted last season. I know the Chelsea game, we heard them in the game and I think they felt the game as we did on the pitch. We wanted to get the win and were disappointed going down. But obviously, as a footballer, you don’t want to lose any game, so you do what we can to come back and I think we did that, of course with the help from the fans. Of course, we had to do it on the pitch.”
"I think you've seen the games, we like playing together. Of course, we're still starting to get to know each other on and off the pitch. He's a nice guy outside of the pitch as well. But on the pitch, you can see big football knowledge, people know he's been playing games like this, the last eight years I want to say, in Madrid so I'm not surprised he can cope. It's lovely to play with him."
Do you see this as a team that’s continuing to improve? The more you get to know the other players and integrate, do you see a lot more coming from this team?
"Yeah I do. And also, I have the feeling that the players feel it and I think the fans do, I even think you guys there believe it. I think you can see the development in the games of how we go to the games and how we’re playing in the games. I think there is a bit of a rising, but we are starting to believe it, there is still things we need to do better, some things we can change but overall, I think we're on the right path."
Do you see this team as that far behind the likes of City? I mean you’ve already beaten Arsenal and Liverpool…
“I think they played together for many years and have had the consistency for many years. Like you said, a lot of new guys are coming in [at United] and now it’s for everyone coming in, me as well, to show the consistency to be up there and stay up there and don’t get many downs. I really think we need to show the consistency before we can compare.”
Ten Hag's team news for Sheriff gameArticle
Erik has provided an update on the fitness of players including Harry Maguire and Anthony Martial.
"No not really, I think for every footballer it’s the same. There’s obviously something in five or six games’ time but I think until then, you’re focused on the next game and our game is tomorrow. Like you said, there’s five or six games before the World Cup, so a lot of things at the club where you need to be in good shape.”
The club’s made a spectacular recovery from the start of the season if you look back to the Brentford game, the Brentford performance – I just wondered what’s changed in the last few weeks? The manager, rightly or wrongly from the outside, has a reputation of a bit of a disciplinarian, has that been a factor? I just wonder why or how have you made that spectacular improvement in the last couple of months…
"I think we, the players and in general, started believing in what we're doing on the pitch and obviously a lot of the 1-0 wins gave us a lot of confidence that really we could do well, and they give us momentum. Obviously, he wants us to do stuff and we try to do as we can what he wants. On the pitch, we have to make our own decisions and I think [with] the qualities we have, when we finally get to know the pace, [we] will be even better."
Christian, there were people who when you first signed thought you might be a squad player – I didn’t think that – but did you expect to have the impact you have had?
"Yeah, I didn't want to come here to sit on the bench, that was never my aim. I’ve never been like that as a footballer to go anywhere to relax a bit and be on the bench. I did see my quality to play, yes."
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“Well, I didn’t pick any of the other players so I think you need to ask him, he chose the right players but I think as players, we are starting to feel a connection. It’s a lot of new guys, so we’re starting to get to know each other but still… it’s a very good squad with some very good players he got in. So, he did well so far [smiles].”
You seem to have brought a great sense of quality and composure to the midfield since you’ve come – where do you prefer to play? Do you prefer to play higher up in the final third, maybe as a 10? Do you like being in a two-man pivot next to say a Casemiro, [Scott] McTominay or Fred? At the base of a midfield? Personally, where do you prefer to play in midfield?
"I've always played in a bit of a different position, I always start in one position and then get moved around in the game, it’s been like that at every club. Really my thing has always been that I like to be where the ball is and, for me, it doesn’t matter if I’m a six or eight or 10, it’s more how the game is going and how I can be involved in the game. So, I don’t really have any preference, just wherever the manager puts me.”