Ten Hag: I want full concentration against Forest

Saturday 26 August 2023 07:00

Erik ten Hag has called on Manchester United's players to demand more from each other, as the Reds aim to respond to last weekend's defeat at Spurs by picking up three points from today's clash with Nottingham Forest (15.00 BST).

Despite the 2-0 scoreline in north London last Saturday, the manager was given some encouragement by the Reds' performance in the first 35 minutes.

But, in an exclusive interview with club media, the Dutchman was also bluntly clear that performing for a third of a game, or a half, is futile, given the high standards of the Premier League.

Read on to hear how Ten Hag plans to address last week's problems in the match against Forest, plus his thoughts on our current injury problems, new Forest winger Anthony Elanga, and the visitors' popular manager, Steve Cooper...
Matchday Q&A | Ten Hag on Forest (H) Video

Matchday Q&A | Ten Hag on Forest (H)

Matchday Q&A | Erik talks standards, concentration, Elanga and more, as the Reds get ready for Forest...

Erik, first up, how is the squad looking for tomorrow? We know you've had a couple of injuries: it's disappointing that Luke Shaw and Mason Mount are unavailable. But I guess that creates opportunities for others?
“So it is, and we have a squad that's a competitive squad. So the differences between the players are not huge, with everyone fighting for his position. But also, across the season, injuries will come up and then, as a squad, you have to deal with it. So it gives opportunities for other players to show, and to get into the team.”
And we're looking to bounce back from a disappointing result at Spurs. Are there any particular areas that you want to improve in?
“Definitely. It's a matter of doing your job and, as a team, make sure that everyone is doing their job. So the togetherness. We dropped a level in the second half of the game. That has to be back; that is our standard. That is one of our highest values, and we have to do it all the time and everyone has to do it, because all of us, in the Premier League, you can't win games, even if you dominate the first 35 minutes of a game.”
Our home form continues to be impressive. You're really solid at home. How important is it that that continues?
“Yeah, but we want to win every game. It doesn't matter if we play away, if we play home. We know we can beat everyone. But we have to do the right things and we have to do it 100 per cent and consistently.”
Part one: Press conference v Forest Video

Part one: Press conference v Forest

Press conference part one | You aren't ready for Saturday's game until you've heard the latest from Erik ten Hag...

Forest, they've started okay – they beat Sheffield United last time out, and they were unlucky to be narrowly beaten by Arsenal in that first game away from home. So where do you assess where they are as a team?
“It's a very good team and also, I think, a very good squad even. They can pick [different] players, so we have to be on the front foot. We have to be fully concentrated. We know what their game plan will be, but it's important how we play against them, and we have to do our job. Hopefully, a full Old Trafford and the connection with the fans [will give us a lift]. There is a great vibe in the stadium, we are really looking forward to this game. Also we have to bounce back, we have to take revenge for last week. That was not good enough, we know that. But we also know that we can do it – we showed in the first 35 minutes of that game.”
Anthony Elanga is a Nottingham Forest player now. How will his skills help them, and how good is it for him to get to come back to Old Trafford so soon after leaving?
“He's a kid from Manchester United and of course he will be really excited about his returning. He is a great player, offensive and a very attractive player as well. He can be very direct, so he's absolutely a threat. We have to look after him and to be prepared for him tomorrow. But as [for the] other players of Forest. They have players in the front line who can make an impact.”

Ten Hag shares positive Hojlund update


The striker has passed a significant milestone on the road to his United debut.

Nottingham Forest kept faith with their manager, Steve Cooper, last season, despite it being difficult, and he kept them up. How good is it that a club doesn't just change their manager quickly, and keeps faith with their manager?
“I think to change manager, most of the time it doesn't work out. Forest, last season, showed [that]. They believed in the person, in his abilities, and the strategy he had. In the end they got rewarded, so I'm happy that this happens in football, where it's so fluid and managers are so quickly under pressure. Then they change the manager. Most of the times, it doesn't have a good influence; it doesn't give the improvement you want to be.”
Just finally, Arsenal are up next before the international break. So how important is it that you get these next two games and get the points you need?
“Yeah, but first we're only focused on Nottingham Forest. That's the first job to do. Only think about that, and after this game we go ahead or we look further.”